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The Open 2019: Rory McIlroy’s hopes in tatters after opening round of 79


McIlroy’s misery – Worst moments from a disastrous day for Rory
The 148th Open Championship – first-round leaderboard
-5 JB Holmes (US); -4 S Lowry (Ire), J Rahm (Spa); -3 A Noren (Swe), W Simpson (US), S Garcia (Spa), D Frittelli (SA), R MacIntyre (Sco), K Aphibarnrat (Tha), R Fox (NZ), T Hatton (Eng), L Westwood (Eng), T Fleetwood (Eng), B Koepka (US), T Finau (US)
Selected others:-2 J Rose (Eng); -1 R Fowler (US), J Day (Aus), J Spieth (US); +3 F Molinari (Ita), D Willett (Eng); +5 P Mickelson (US); +7 T Woods (US); +8 R McIlroy (NI); +20 D Duval (US)

Rory McIlroy made a quadruple bogey on the first hole and triple bogey at the last as his bid for a home Open victory at Royal Portrush was left in tatters.

The 2014 winner, playing in his home country of Northern Ireland, sent his first tee shot out of bounds and ended his round ingloriously.

McIlroy finished with a round of eight-over-par 79 – 13 strokes behind American leader JB Holmes who shot 66.

Irishman Shane Lowry, the early leader, is second on four under.

World number one Brooks Koepka, seeking his fifth major since 2017, is among a pack of 13 two shots behind Holmes on three under.

Two-time runner-up Sergio Garcia and the English trio of Lee Westwood, Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrell Hatton are in that group, as is New Zealander Ryan Fox, who recorded 29 coming in – the lowest total for a back nine in Open history.

England’s world number four Justin Rose is two under while American Jordan Spieth, who won this event in 2015, is on one under.

Two of golf’s royalty, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, face a fight to make the cut. Five-time major winner Mickelson, who won in 2013, is five over and Masters champion Tiger Woods is further adrift on seven over.

The three-time winner produced six bogeys and a double bogey in his round of 78, although retained his sense of humour on the 15th when he made an ironic gesture to the crowd after sinking his only birdie.

Woods, who has had a number of operations on his back, revealed he was “sore” during the round and would be receiving treatment before Friday’s play.

“I had a hard time moving and was just trying to piece together a swing that will get me around a golf course,” said the 43-year-old 15-time major winner.

“Then all of a sudden I made probably one of the best pars you’ve ever seen on one today. That was a pretty good start. But it was kind of downhill from there.

“I’m going to have days like this and I’ve got to fight through it. And I fought through it. Unfortunately, I did not post a very good score.”

Holmes, whose best Open finish was third in 2016, told Sky Sports: “Today I hit it really good off the tee. I hit it solid, didn’t get too aggressive and didn’t make dumb bogeys.

“It was a great day.”

The Open: Watch highlights as USA’s J.B Holmes hits a 5 under to take Open lead

McIlroy suffers while Lowry flourishes

The Open 2019: I undid all the great work on last few holes – Mcllroy

Much of focus in the build-up to the championship was whether, come Sunday, Northern Ireland would be celebrating their greatest hope lifting the Claret Jug on the country’s premier course.

But the chances of that happening have all but disappeared as 30-year-old McIlroy evoked memories of his final-round collapse at the 2011 Masters, with an inward nine that included a double bogey on the 16th and a triple bogey on the 18th to leave him on tied 150th. The quadruple was his first in a major since the 2013 US Open.

“I would like to punch myself,” the four-time major winner told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“I made a couple of stupid mistakes. I was pretty nervous on the first tee and hit a bad shot. I showed some resilience in the middle of the round and was trying to fight back into the championship but then I finished off poorly as well.

“If I look back, I undid all my good work to recover on the last three holes.

“At the end of the day, I play golf to fulfil my ambitions, not anyone else’s, but I wish I could have given the crowd something to cheer about.

“I let myself down more than anyone else and need to pick myself back up.”

Irishman Lowry set the early standard with five birdies, and one dropped shot, for a 67.

The 32-year-old told BBC Radio 5 Live: “I gave myself lots of chances and then didn’t hole anything but then had a couple of good pars saves late on.”

The Open 2019: Tommy Fleetwood & Brooks Koepka among best shots from day one

Another Northern Irishman, Darren Clarke, was greeted by a large crowd at 06:35 BST as he hit the first tee shot at the County Antrim course, which is hosting the tournament for the first time in 68 years.

Royal Portrush is expecting 237,750 spectators over the week – a record attendance for an Open outside of St Andrews – eclipsing the 235,000 who attended Royal Birkdale in 2017.

Those watching experienced a variety of conditions including wind and bright sunshine, then swirling showers before the sun returned for the final groups.

Unlucky 13 for Duval

It was a day to forget in the career of former Open champion David Duval

There was disappointment for Italian defending champion Francesco Molinari, who produced three bogeys and a double bogey over the first 13 holes as he finished on three over.

Graeme McDowell, who was born a stone’s throw from the course, was three under after a birdie on the 14th but the 2010 US Open winner’s round fell apart and a triple bogey on the 18th meant he ended two over.

One of the biggest cheers of the day came on the 200-yard par-three 13th when Argentine Emiliano Grillo sunk the first ace of the championship, but there were groans aplenty on the par-five seventh as 2001 winner David Duval suffered the ignominy of a 14. The 47-year-old also recorded a triple bogey on the 17th and is bottom of the pack on 20 over after a 91 – the tournament’s worst round in 22 years.

More first-round video highlights

The Open 2019: Watch Emiliano Grillo’s 200-yard hole in one on the 13th
‘Inexcusable’ miss at 16th irritates McIlroy
Gary Woodland recovers to par after hitting tee shot into fan’s backpack
Everything about it was amazing – Clarke
Watch: ‘I’ll play PlayStation tonight’ – MacIntyre reflects on first-round 68



Article courtesy of BBC Sport
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