'Really bad': Aussie golfers in 'horrific' chaos at British Open

·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Lucas Herbert, pictured here during the opening round of the British Open.
Lucas Herbert was caught in traffic chaos as tens of thousands of fans made their way to the British Open. Image: Getty

Aussie golfers Lucas Herbert and Brad Kennedy were caught in "horrific" traffic chaos on Thursday that nearly saw them disqualified from the British Open.

Herbert needed a police escort to rush him to Royal St George's and Kennedy nearly jumped out of his car to run to the course.

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Sergio Garcia was also among a number of stars who were left panicking that they wouldn't make their tee times as tens of thousands of fans flocking to the British Open caused traffic jams.

Garcia needed police help after the return of one of the great sporting festivals saw the crowds rush back to the little Kent town of Sandwich.

Herbert, one of the real form horses on the European Tour after his recent Irish Open win, said he is used to cutting things fine.

But even he was later than usual after he hit heavy traffic trying to get from his nearby hotel.

The Aussie reckoned it contributed to a miserable start to his first round before he recovered superbly to finish at even par.

"This morning, I was a bit thrown out," explained the 25-year-old.

"It's already going to be tricky here with so much going on around the tournament (regarding COVID-19 restrictions).

"You've got to get shuttles from here to there and there are long walks between the putting green and what-not, so you've already got to factor in a little bit more time.

"Then the traffic was horrific this morning. We had to get a police escort in the end to get here (for a 9.14am tee time) and I was still really late - which is pretty much how I operate anyway!"

Tens of thousands of fans, pictured here at the 149th The Open Championship at Royal St Georges.
Tens of thousands of fans flocked to watch the opening round of the 149th The Open Championship at Royal St Georges. (Photo by Keyur Khamar/PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

Sergio Garcia also caught in British Open traffic chaos

Kennedy, the 47-year-old who topped the Australasian Order of Merit last year to qualify, said it took him one and a half hours to travel the seven miles from his base in the village of Walmer to Sandwich.

"The traffic was so bad I was pretty much about to leave the car at the side of the road, it was looking pretty tricky," he said.

"I left three hours before my tee time and I was beginning to panic a little bit. I certainly won't do that again! I'll be well and truly here long before my tee time!"

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Herbert said his rushed preparations may have contributed to him being "half-asleep until the back nine".

"Then things started to kick off and got myself back into it," added the Bendigo player, who recorded four birdies in five holes straight after the turn to end up at level par.

"Feel like I've done no damage with that first round, but would've liked a couple less. Can't be too upset."

Garcia also needed a police escort to get to the course, after arriving an hour later than he'd wanted.

"Even though I left the house with plenty of time, I needed a little bit of help from a couple of very nice English policemen on the bikes to get me here with only about 35, 40 minutes to tee off, when usually I like to be here around an hour and a half before," said Garcia, who ended up shooting a 68.

Louis Oosthuizen posted a bogey-free, six-under-par 64 to take the first round lead, one shot better than Americans Jordan Spieth and Brian Harman.

with AAP

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