David Howell gets Open underway
England's David Howell got the 143rd Open Championship under way in bright sunshine at Hoylake.
The 39-year-old had the honour of hitting the first tee shot at 6.25am in calm conditions but found the right rough and had to lay up short of the green which resulted in a bogey five.
Former Open champion David Duval, winner at Lytham in 2001, also missed the fairway on the opposite side, could only hack out 40 yards before advancing it on to green and then holing his putt for par.
Sweden's Robert Karlsson had a more regulation four, splitting the fairway with his tee shot and two-putting from 15 feet.
Another Englishman Chris Wood, who finished fifth at Royal Birkdale in 2008 to win the Silver Medal for top amateur and was one shot off a play-off for the Claret Jug at Turnberry the following year as a professional, was the first to make an impact with a birdie at the opening 458-yard hole.
First reserve Ben Crane made it to Hoylake after a last-minute dash from his home in Oregon in the United States and began what could be a frustrating vigil on the putting green, waiting in vain for a competitor to pull out.
Howell pulled back his dropped shot with a monster putt for birdie across the third green, but on the fourth tee the opening group received a polite warning they were already a minute off the required pace although there was no move to put them on the clock at that stage.
It did not seem to affect Howell, who birdied the hole to move into the lead on one under after Wood bogeyed the second.
The situation around the third green and fourth tee, in close proximity to each other, was not helped by constant interruptions from a public address announcer in the tented village alongside the third fairway - a situation which was dealt with by one of the tournament referees.