By Tony Jimenez
HOYLAKE England (Reuters) - French Open champion Graeme McDowell could be forgiven for yelling 'sacre bleu' after a double-bogey seven at the 10th hole cost him dear in the first round of the 143rd British Open on Thursday.
The world number 17 also bemoaned his inability to hit a much-needed cut shot under the Royal Liverpool winds and "a sloppy posture" after opening up with a disappointing two-over 74 on a hot, sunny day on the north-west coast of England.
"I had an average lie in the left rough off the 10th tee but it came out low and left," McDowell told reporters. "It seemed to sling-shot off a hill or something - I'm not sure what happened.
"From there I had no shot really, the ball jumped out on me over the back of the green and I didn't get it up and down."
McDowell, an excellent course strategist tipped for a good championship before the start, was deeply frustrated with one element of his game.
"I'm not really controlling my ball flight the way I need to," said the 2010 U.S. Open champion. "I can't hit a cut at all - it is non-existent at the minute.
"It's very difficult to play links golf when you're not able to shape it both ways especially when the greens are as firm as this.
"It's not something that's just appeared this week, it's something that's been a consistent flaw in my game lately. But I can't get down on myself, I've got to get back out there tomorrow and try to get myself back in this event."
Northern Irishman McDowell said he found some sort of solace in the last few holes of the round.
"I found a little bit of something coming in, just from my leg work," explained one of the mainstays of Europe's Ryder Cup team. "I felt like my posture has been getting sloppy which has been leading to my leg work getting a little out in front of me.
"I felt a bit stronger in my posture coming in to make some good swings from about the 16th onwards."
McDowell is now hoping the strong gusts forecast for Friday's second round do actually materialize.
"I need some windy conditions so bring it on," he said. "If there were three more days of sunshine and not much wind I'd be pretty much writing myself off.
"But with the conditions they're forecasting for the next couple of days, especially tomorrow, it means I don't have to go and beat myself up today."
(Editing by Toby Davis)