Adrián Otaegui from Gipuzkoa is a true golfer and he showed it this Thursday on the first day of the British Open at the Royal Liverpool. He signed 67 shots, four under par, and was in the top 5 (4th tied) just one shot behind the co-leaders, the amateur Christo Lamprecht, the Englishman Tommy Fleetwood and the Argentinean Emiliano Grillo.
Adrián Otaegui, results
We could well say that the Basque played Jon Rahm -they are friends and Jon caddyed him when he won the British Boys- and displaying a good repertoire of shots, especially in the second nine holes, he delivered a magnificent result that will surely boost his morale and confidence after the bitter experience at LIV Golf, a circuit in which he played and was sanctioned in February with a fine and four weeks without competing on the European Tour.
But if Otaegui was heads, Rahm was undoubtedly the tails. Nothing came out for the Biscayan, and he didn't even have that bit of luck that you can have in a tournament like this. Up to twice! World number 3 had to play in a bunker behind the world number 3, on hole 12 (he hit a spectator, leaving him half KO and the ball that went to the rough ended up unplayable in the bunker) and on hole 18, on a day to forget and also to analyze calmly.
The card of 74 strokes places him right now out of the cut (position 89) and 8 strokes behind the leaders. There will be a lot of rowing for Barrika this Friday morning if he does not want to be stranded on the shore of the Dee estuary.
And so that Jon was not alone in his discouragement, world number 2 Rory McIlroy also suffered, he played with ups & downs, and at 18, with the ball stuck to the slope and taking it out onto the green on his second attempt.
Crazy. But the Briton managed to sign the par 71. There is a bullfighting saying that goes like this: 'afternoon of expectation, bullfight of disappointment' This Thursday at Royal Liverpool, the same applied to golf, changing the run for the game.
"I haven't taken advantage of the easy holes at the beginning, I haven't taken a fairway and the luck of the bunkers is what there is, that's why they are, but I'll stick with the irons that I've hit today, there have been several that I've been less than a meter from having good birdie options and then in the end the putts on 15 and 16 are the ones that hurt," said Jon, who did not attribute the 11th hole, short for birdie, to a mistake and where it came from to hole in the 10 one of 9 meters.
"Not that one, I've thrown it well. It wasn't a bad putt and they can't all putt but I would have liked someone else to have been for birdie," he said. Be that as it may, in three holes (10, 11 and 12), after a first part of the course suffering more than necessary and saving several pars, he was able to turn the tables for good and did not come out.
"The shots that have not gone well have ended up in bad places. The par 5s, as I have put them from the tee, doing +1 is a bit what has killed the round because even so I have hit many good shots and the result hurts because of how well I hit the ball.
It's a pity that I couldn't take advantage of a couple of opportunities. It's not an easy course and I don't feel like I'm up to my neck in water, there's still a lot left. We have to take advantage of tomorrow morning and if it rains over the weekend ..." Jon concluded.
The other side of the coin was Otaegui. "It has been a round in which I have not gotten into many problems, only on hole 1 where the ball has remained in a bad 'lie' and I have lost a shot, but from then on very well, I have been taking many fairways, many greens, and in the second round I have made a couple of long putts and the truth is that the -4 of the second nine holes has left a good taste in my mouth", Adrián said in the first instance in the mixed zone.
An organized athlete - "I have played as I had planned to play" -, methodical, not very talkative in the previous ones, the winner of four European Tour tournaments, the last of them in 2022 after an exhibition in Valderrama, he does not want to see beyond the second day this Friday, nor of course to be able to enter the Ryder team.
At 30 years old and in his second British, he was unable to specify whether it had been his best result in a 'major', although he did say that "by result I think so. I felt good, I played at ease, concentrated, putting the ball on the fairway, on the green. That would be the summary of the return, "added the San Sebastian, follower of Real.
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