116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Zach Johnson managed an even par opening 72 in his first round of the 2022 Open Championship, his first return to St. Andrews since his 2015 Open victory seven years ago.
Johnson stands in a tie for 55th after slow starts on both nines; he was 2-over through six holes and eventually 3-over through 13. Johnson finished strong, however, going 3-under in his last five holes.
Overall, there was some disappointment in Johnson’s voice post-round after his start.
“I’m a little frustrated, but it could have been a lot worse,” he said. “I didn’t make many putts. The putts I made for birdie were all within 5 feet. I say that but I think I putted pretty good from 7 feet and in too.
“It comes down to that it’s hard to hit it close. I hit some errant shots during the middle of my round which were really frustrating. I also had a couple of really poor three-putts.”
It’s been hard for anyone to hit it close because the course is running dry and fast like a racetrack. Scottie Scheffler said he’s never seen a course run out in the fairways more than the Old Course at St. Andrews on Thursday.
For Johnson, he loves the conditions and reveres them, seemingly more than the other players here this week.
“I think part of my frustration is the mere fact that I think the golf course is absolutely immaculate,” Johnson said.
Johnson finished his round with back-to-back birdies, including an unlikely one on the always difficult road hole on 17.
“Making birdie felt like an eagle on 17,” he said. “I thought to myself ‘holy cow, I’ll take it.’”
But it wasn’t all great iron shots to a couple feet and converting the birdies.
“Making bogey on the par-5 fourth was just awful,” Johnson said. “I mean that hole is playing 4.5 shots so that one’s tough to swallow.”
Johnson looks to bounce back Friday, and says he needs no extra incentive to be ready for his round.
“The motivation to play this golf course and this championship comes pretty easily for me, it’s why this is my favorite style of golf,” Johnson said. “I’m grateful how the game is remembered. It’s the home of golf here and you get a new understanding about the way golf was invited and it’s just special being on site.”
Johnson said being back at the site of his 2015 win is “special.”
“It’s amazing, being back here on Monday for the first time in seven years is just special,” Johnson said. “I’m really appreciative and grateful of the R&A and how they welcomed me back.”
Johnson tees off at 7:37 a.m. (CT) Friday. The weather forecast calls for a 90-percent chance of rain and 11-13 mph wins, but that’s about the norm in Scotland.
“Whatever mother nature decides to do, the golf course will accept it and it’ll be a great challenge,” Johnson said.