HOYLAKE, England – Cheng-Tsung Pan became the first Husky player to ever tee it up at the British Open on Thursday, firing a round of 2-over 74 at Hoylake. Playing with seasoned pros, Brandt Snedeker of the United States and Graham Delaet of Canada, Pan equaled Snedeker in a tie for 84th, eight strokes back of the lead.
Perhaps the best young player in the world, Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland topped a star-studded leaderboard at 6-under with the likes of Adam Scott, Jim Furyk, Sergio Garcia and Tigers Woods among others just a couple shots off the lead.
Pan, the first Husky in the 79-year history of UW golf to compete in the world's oldest major, is guaranteed 18 more holes of golf on Friday as he attempts to make the cut for the weekend. The top 70 players make the cut, including ties, meaning he is currently one shot off the number. There are 18 players tied for 66th at 1-over, while 20 others shot 2-over.
"I’m sure the media is talking on TV about the ideal scoring conditions. The conditions certainly were that this morning when most of the low scores came in, but this afternoon was different," said Huskies coach Matt Thurmond, who is with Pan on the course this week at Royal Liverpool. "Although it was sunny and hot, the wind picked up considerably and shooting a low score became a significant challenge."
Pan’s group at 2-over includes five former major champions, Phil Mickelson, Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell, Justin Leonard and Ben Curtis. Only McDowell from that group is not a previous winner of the British Open, including Mickelson who is the defending champion.
Pan made two birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey on the day for his 74. He doubled the seventh after finding a bush off the tee to shoot 3-over 38 on the front nine. Pan was much better on the back, birdying the par-four 11th after chipping in from 35 yards. He followed that up with another birdie on the par-four 14th to get to 1-under, before a bogey on 15 dropped him back to 2-over. Still, the UW senior-to-be shot 1-under 36 on the back nine to stay in contention.