The Open 2013: Martin Laird top Scot after opening round

The Open Championship

Venue:
Muirfield
Dates:
18-21 July
Coverage:
Live on BBC One, BBC Two & HD, BBC Radio 5 live, Red Button, online, connected TV, mobile app, tablets and other digital platforms; live text commentary on BBC Sport website, mobile devices & app

Martin Laird is the best-placed Scot after the opening round of the 142nd Open, being held at Muirfield.

His score of 70, one under, was one of only 20 below-par rounds in the 156-strong field, which is led by America's Zach Johnson on five under.

Glasgow's Marc Warren carded a respectable one-over par 72.

Scottish Amateur champion Grant Forrest impressed all, including playing partner Mark O'Meara, with his round of 73.

With the greens quickening by the hour, those players teeing off early held the advantage at the East Lothian course, though that was little comfort to Edinburgh's Lloyd Saltman.

The 27-year-old began his round with a quadruple-bogey eight before most golf fans had laid waste to the buffets in their hotels.

His reward for a 06:32 BST tee-off time on Thursday is an 11:33 slot on day two, but improving on his eight-over par 79, a score matched by Rory McIlroy no less, will concern him more than his alarm clock setting.

Of the 10 Scots, seven took their first shots after midday, by which time even softly-hit putts missing their target were rolling mercilessly past the hole.

Of course, putting is just one part of the game and the weather a single factor. Narrow fairways, a variable wind, testing pin positions and unforgiving bunkers ensure Muirfield presents a wonderful challenge to the world's top players.

Trailing Laird, Warren and Forrest lie a quartet of Scots who face a tough second round if they are to make the halfway cut.

The 1985 champion Sandy Lyle, Aberdeen's Richie Ramsay, Bathgate's Stephen Gallacher and Fife's George Murray produced five-over par rounds and are tied for 92nd place.

Open qualifier Murray must be in shock as he pores over his scorecard, for he hit an admirable 14 pars in a round blighted by a triple bogey at the par-three fourth hole and took five shots at the par-three 16th, with its cruelly-placed flag.

His birdie at the 17th was soured by a bogey on the final hole.

Scott Jamieson's 80 was one shot worse than Saltman's, yet there were few signs that things would go awry when he hit the turn on 37, one over.

But 43 strokes to come home, including a triple-bogey six at 16, ruined his day.

Paul Lawrie carded a dispiriting 10-over to all but free up his weekend. The 1999 Open winner was six over after the first eight holes.