McIlroy Crumbles At Royal Portrush In Open First Round

The four-time Major winner's first round at Royal Portrush was a disaster

McIlroy Crumbles At Royal Portrush

The four-time Major winner's first round at Royal Portrush was a disaster

McIlroy Crumbles At Royal Portrush In Open First Round

Rory McIlroy came into the Open Championship at Royal Portrush playing some of the best golf of his life with hopes of winning the Claret Jug in his home country.

The Northern Irishman shaped his entire season around this week and it was pretty much over before it even began after he hooked his opening tee shot out of bounds.

His nightmare start continued as he then had to take a penalty drop up by the green.

He started with a quadruple-bogey 8, was five over par after three and then made a double-bogey at the par-3 16th, known as Calamity, before a triple-bogey at the last.

All-in-all, he signed for an eight-over-par 79 and will now need something special to make the cut.

It was a very sad day for the 30-year-old who will clearly be devastated as Portrush and all the pressure that came with the occasion got the better of him.

14 years after his course record 61 at the age of 16, he took 18 more strokes today.

Here is what Rory had to say after his round -

"I guess when you play your first and last holes in a combined 7-over par, you're sort of starting on the back foot," he said.

"Yeah, obviously I got off to a rough start, the ball sort of went left on the first hole with the wind.

"Actually hit the ball out of bounds right yesterday on the practice round. That might have been in my head a little bit, not sort of wanting to leak it out to the right.

"It was a rough start. But I felt like I showed some good resilience after that. I think I played the next 13 or 14 holes at 2-under par.

"And then really what I'm disappointed about is I undid all that great work the last few holes. I lost concentration after the missed par-putt on 16, I missed a short one there.

"It almost settled me down. It was almost like, well, that's sort of the worst that can happen. Put your head down and keep going.

"I'm not saying that it was the ideal start. But at that point you've nothing else to really -- what else can go wrong?

"So I just put my head down and tried to keep hitting good shots. And I did that for the next 13 or 14 holes. And then again, as I said, I just let it go a little bit at the end.

"Look, I definitely think if I can put the ball in the fairway tomorrow I can shoot a good enough score to be around for the weekend.

"Obviously I'm pretty sure anyone starting with a 79 in this golf tournament doesn't think about winning at this point.

"But I think I can go out there and shoot something in the mid-60s, be around for the weekend, and then try to play good from there."

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Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-5. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2 HL

Irons: Mizuno MP-H4 3-iron, Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5