Lowry leads Open, abysmal start for McIlroy

Golf's Best Prepare for The Open's New Ireland Setting

Home favorite Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods both endured awful starts to the British Open on Thursday, while American JB Holmes claimed the lead as the championship returned to Royal Portrush for the first time since 1951.

"To play as well as I did and then to finish like that hurts a lot, but that's golf and you have to take the rough with the smooth", he said. I asked if it was a 2, Titleist 2.

McIlroy started the day with a quadruple bogey, and finished 8 over, in an extremely disappointing opening round.

Fourteen years ago, at age 16, McIlroy shot a course-record 61 at Portrush in the second qualifying round of the North of Ireland Championship.

"I'm going to have days like this, and got to fight through it".

There is a group of 13 players in the clubhouse just two strokes off the lead on three-under, including world number one Brooks Koepka and Spaniard Jon Rahm.

But Woods has drawn inspiration from old timers Tom Watson and Greg Norman, who both came close to winning the Open in their 50s in 2009 and 2008 respectively. "I figure out where the miss is and where I'm trying to put it and then go from there". "I didn't judge the lies around the greens very well but that's just about getting used to links golf so if I can just sharpen that up, I will be right there".

McIlroy says he was nervous on the first tee, where he went out of bounds, but not because he was playing a major in his home country for the first time.

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His record on the old Dunluce links at Portrush will never be broken now after the redesign needed to entice the Open back for the first time in nearly 70 years - nor will McIlroy's 61 shot round be forgotten, not even by the man himself. "And then I looked at it and saw two and then played nearly the entirety of the hole, and it turns out with the wrong ball".

"I didn't do much out there today", admitted Woods afterwards.

"But playing at this elite level is a completely different deal, " he said.

After a triple-bogey 7 on the finishing hole, McIlroy had carded a 79.

Argentina's Emiliano Grillo got the crowds excited with the first hole-in-one at the championship since 2016 on the par-three 13th. He is six over and tied for 141st place, and he didn't birdie until the 15th hole while bogeying several other holes.

"I probably got poured on 10 times. I'll definitely have a little bit more confidence having him on the bag this week, knowing this golf course so well".

No doubt the decision of this particular sporting giant to restrict himself to a practice range session on the final day of rehearsals will provoke more head-scratching but the 43-year-old laid out his circumstances and pleaded for understanding.

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