ADAM SCOTT STILL holds early lead at The Open on -6 as the afternoon rounds, including those of Padraig Harrington and Rory McIlroy near their completion.
The Australian has been in impressive form in the early stages at Royal Lytham and St Anne’s but scoring has not proved too hazardous as of yet.
Scott was at -7 under on the final tee but he recorded a bogey, coming back to the field and Paul Lawrie, who finished at -5 after getting a birdie on 18. Zach Johnson is also well placed on -5.
Graeme McDowell and Tiger Woods were both on -4 as they approached the end of their rounds but the duo dropped back after late bogeys.
Rory McIlroy is on -3 after 13 holes while Padraig Harrington has evened out his par round, after 14 holes, as three bogeys cancelled out three birdies.
Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium is making a late charge up the leaderboard and is -5 with three holes of his round remaining.
Scott was over par after bogeying on the third hole but he has since reeled off six birdies in the next 10 holes.
Birdies followed on 15 and 16 but a stray drive on the last hole eventually cost him a round of 63.
Woods’ start was much better as he dropped a beautiful birdie putt on the first hole. Further shots were picked up on the fourth and sixth before the American’s stunning chip on the seventh left him with a simple tap in for another birdie.
He could not get a similar streak going on the back nine and a bogey on the 15 was the only disruption in a frustrating run of pars.
McDowell was on level par after six holes but he approached the turn with a run of three birdies to climb the leaderboard. A further shot was gained on the 11th.
Shot of the day from the Northern Ireland golfer came on the Par 3 ninth hole when he landed his tee shot within four feet and subsequently tapped in for birdie.
He got little joy out of the closing stretch and a bogeyed 15, like Woods, and the final hole.
Lawrie, a Claret Jug winner in 1999, rolled back the years with a succession of huge putts that found the centre of the hole.
The Scot’s longest drain of the morning came on the 15th when his putt from more than 50 feet away nestled in the cup.
2012 Masters winner Bubba Watson was one off the pace midway through his round before dropping back to -3. Johnson, another man with a green blazer in his wardrobe.
Rory and Padraig
Harrington, a two time Open winner, had a birdie on the second hole but he has struggled to gather any momentum as his round has progressed.
He started the back nine with an excellent approach shot at 10 and rolled in a birdie but he left a similar putt centimetres short on 13.
McIlroy was the model of consistency during his six opening holes but he still needed a steady hand to sink a couple of 10-foot putts.
His first birdies came on holes seven and eight and he made up for the disappointment of a bogey on 10 to gain two more shots on 11 and 12. He needed a fine, recovering chip off the back of the 14th green to save par.
Justin Rose finished at +4, Lee Westwood was +3 and Michael Hoey of Northern Ireland signed off on a +9 opening round.
-6: Adam Scott (after 18)
-5: Paul Lawrie (18), Zach Johnson (18), Nicolas Colsaerts (15)
-3: Graeme McDowell (18), Tiger Woods (18). Ernie Els (18), Bubba Watson (18), Toshinoro Muto (18)