Lytham St. Annes, England – Adam Scott flirted with a major championship record on Thursday, but settled for the lead after the first round of The Open Championship.
The Aussie stepped on the 18th tee Thursday at the par-70 Royal Lytham & St. Annes with a chance to break a long-standing mark.
If Scott made birdie on the last, he would've become the first player to fire a 62 in a major championship.
Names like Nicklaus, Woods, Norman, Player and Floyd managed 63s, but no one could go one better.
Neither could Scott.
He found the tall grass on the left of 18, made bogey, but still did enough for a 6-under 64, which tied the low round at an Open Championship at Royal Lytham.
And yes, Scott was well aware of where he stood in terms of the history of the game's most difficult and most prestigious championships.
"I realized it was a par 70 and also probably then realized I wasn't going to be the guy to shoot 62," said Scott. "It's one of those things you don't want to go through your mind, thinking about your final score."
Scott is one stroke clear of 1999 Open champion Paul Lawrie, last week's John Deere Classic winner, Zach Johnson and Nicolas Colsaerts, who had the lowest round of the group that played in the afternoon.
Brandt Snedeker had a long birdie putt lip out on 18, so he shot a 4-under 66 and is alone in fifth.
Tiger Woods flew out of the gate on Thursday with four birdies in his first seven holes, but cooled down the stretch. The three-time Claret Jug winner shot a 3-under 67 and is part of a group tied for sixth place.
"I played well today. I really played well," Woods said in a televised interview. "My pace was slightly off on the greens. I just need to hit it another six inches to a foot harder."
It's a star-studded group tied with Woods.
Masters champion Bubba Watson, world No. 2 Rory McIlroy, 2002 British Open winner Ernie Els, Steve Stricker, Peter Hanson, Toshinori Muto and 2010 U.S. Open champion and runner-up this year, Graeme McDowell joined Woods at minus-3.
It was a calm morning at Royal Lytham & St. Annes. Winds, expected to gust in the mid-20 mph range, didn't arrive. The course still showed its teeth, Scott's brush with immortality notwithstanding, and the afternoon groups saw tougher, colder conditions.
Colsaerts, Snedeker, McIlroy, Stricker, Hanson and Muto played later on Thursday, but some didn't handle the elements as well.
Phil Mickelson struggled to a 3-over 73. World No. 1 Luke Donald had a respectable even-par 70 after a bogey at the last.
But Thursday's morning conditions provided great scoring chances and players took advantage.
"It was like a walk in the park today, and not like what we've been experiencing in the practice rounds," Scott said. "I'm sure there's going to be some weather elements thrown at us the next three days, so I'm just going to have to knuckle down and handle that."
Scott bogeyed No. 3, but immediately got the stroke back with a birdie on four. He rattled off back-to-back birdies at six and seven and found himself 2-under for the championship.
The Aussie, who had never gone lower than 68 in his previous 12 appearances, vaulted up the leaderboard, first with a birdie at the 11th. He ran home a 4- footer for birdie at the 12th and made it three in a row thanks to a 7-footer at No. 13.
After a par at 14, Scott knocked his approach 12 feet left of the hole at 15. He poured in the birdie effort and kicked in a short birdie putt at the par-4 16th to get to 7-under par.
Scott needed a birdie on one of the two remaining holes for a 62. He made a routine par at the 17th, but pulled his drive with an iron at 18. Scott couldn't muscle his approach onto the green, then hit a poor pitch 25 feet from the hole.
Scott missed the par putt and lost his chance to post the 26th 63 in major history.
"I'm confident," said Scott. "My ball striking is good and I think I can get 'round no matter what the conditions are."
Scott, 32, is still in pursuit of his first major title with a long ways to go.
"I haven't achieved my goal of winning major championships," Scott said. "That's what I dreamt of as a kid and that's what I made as goals when I turned pro and what I thought about when I turned pro."
NOTES: Defending champion Darren Clarke shot a 6-over 76...World No. 3 Lee Westwood had a 3-over 73...Senior British Open champion Russ Cochran withdrew on Thursday and Michael Thompson, a co-runner-up at the U.S. Open, replaced him in the field and shot a 4-over 74.