2023 has witnessed some of the most interesting golf action in recent years. Such was the case at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, Merseyside, England from 20–23 July 2023 when the 151st and 2023 Open Championship took place. Royal Liverpool has hosted the event for a record 13th time and, like has been the norm in recent major tournaments, the best golfers had to eat some humble pie as the so-called “underdogs” stole the show.
The venue underwent some changes before the event, including the addition of a new par 3 seventeenth hole that lowered the course’s par to 71. The overall course yardage was also increased by 71 yards to 7,383 yards total, while holes one, thirteen, fourteen, and sixteen received new bunkers. Other upgrades included longer championship tees on the seventh, fifteenth, and eighteenth holes, and the fourth hole getting a reduced green modified for harder pin positions.
As expected with a major tournament, many big names were part of the 156 players that competed for the trophy. Notable among them was 2014 Open Championship winner Rory McIlroy who won the event the last time it was held at Royal Liverpool. Others included defending champion Cameron Smith, 2023 Masters winner Jon Rahm, reigning U.S. Open champion Wyndham Clark and the home favorite Tommy Fleetwood.
The bells went off on Thursday. Fleetwood posted an impressive first round of 66 after making only one bogey and three straight birdies on the back nine.
Sharing the lead with Fleetwood after round one was amateur Christo Lamprecht, whose five-under score of 66 replaced Tom Lewis’ 2011 record of the lowest score by an amateur in the Open Championship’s first round.
Emiliano Grillo was the third player tied for the lead after round one, having birdied five of his last eight holes to post a five-under score of 66.
Three golfers similarly finished tied for fourth position after recording a four-under 67, among them Brian Harman who holed a 30-foot birdie putt on the 18th. Harman tied for fourth alongside Antoine Rozner and Adrián Otaegui.
Tied for seventh place at 3-under 68 were Michael Stewart, Shubhankar Sharma, Alex Norén, Max Homa, Wyndham Clark, and Stewart Cink.
On Friday, American golfer Brian Harman made it clear that he was a man on a mission. He recorded an impressive bogey-free round of 6-under 65 that included four straight birdies on the front nine holes, 12 pars, and a 15-foot eagle putt on the par-5 18th hole. Harman recorded a five-shot lead after 36 holes, which was the largest two-round lead margin at the Open Championship since 1934.
Fleetwood was determined to make his country proud and shot an even-par 71 to stand alone in second place. Some of his notable moments were a 58-foot birdie putt on the 10th hole and two birdies on the back nine holes.
In third was Sepp Straka who posted an impressive round of 67, notably hitting six birdies over his last seven holes.
Shubhankar Sharma, Min Woo Lee, and Jason Day were tied for fourth at 3-under, while Cameron Young, Jordan Spieth, Adrián Otaegui, and Emiliano Grillo finished tied for seventh at 2-under.
The cut came in at 145 (+3), and some of the big names that missed out included Collin Morikawa, Justin Thomas, Shane Lowry, Dustin Johnson, and Phil Mickelson.