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Open farewell has nightmare start for O'Meara

By Staff Reporter

Former champion Mark O'Meara admitted his day was "toast" after just one shot as his final Open Championship appearance got off to a nightmare start at Royal Birkdale.

O'Meara, who won The Masters in 1998 and lifted the Claret Jug at Birkdale three months later, hit the opening shot at 6.35am out of bounds as wind and heavy rain made conditions testing for the early starters.

The 60-year-old went on to make a quadruple-bogey eight on his way to an 11-over par 81.

O'Meara said: "I just got off to such a poor start and my hand slipped off the club.

"When you're nine-over par through seven holes it's very disappointing, but it's not the end of the world.

"For the R&A to give me the privilege of the first tee shot shows the respect they have for their Open champions, the respect to know that this was going to be my last Open.

"When you hit one straight right off the first tee out of bounds, it would be like standing on the first tee on the Ballybunion and hitting the graveyard (which is 40 yards away). My day was toast after that. But I still had to play."

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