Leaders out as early starters fail to make impression

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The Open Championship In Association With Nikon

Tom Watson and Steve Marino have teed off, but many of the early starters have returned disappointing scores.

The best performance so far has come from American Bryce Molder who teed off at 9.30am this morning and shot a 67 to get back to level par and leap into the top 20.

Molder's rise has been aided by the likes of Sergio Garcia, Camilo Villegas and Martin Kaymer dropping shots early.

The only other under par round so far came from South African Thomas Aiken who shot a 69 for a +2 total.

Brit Oliver Wilson threatened to make a move early on but faded with a 38 on the back nine to finish +3.

Defending champion Padraig Harrington returned a 76 to fall out of contention and Rory McIlroy started with three bogeys and finished with three birdies on the way to a 74 for a +7 total.

The wind has changed direction and the mojority of holes are now playing with a strong crosswind.

The tough conditions had left just 14 players under par as the eladers teed off, with level par looking increasingly like a good round and an under par total very competitive.