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Dublin: 0 °C Wednesday 23 January, 2019

Spieth joint leader after first round of The Open as McIlroy bounces back with late rally

The Irish contingent are further down the leaderboard.

pjimage Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth Source: PA

Updated 19.30pm

JORDAN SPIETH WELL and truly announced his arrival at The Open today, posting an opening round of five-under par at Royal Birkdale to take the joint clubhouse lead with Matt Kuchar and US Open champion Brooks Koepka.

World number three Spieth hit a bogey-free 65, as he put on an impressive spectacle on Merseyside.

Spieth carded five birdies this morning to lay down an early marker to his competitors and establish himself as the favourite to win the Claret Jug.

Rory McIlroy finished the day six shots off the lead at one-over but he’ll delighted with that position after picking up four shots on his back nine, including three birdies in the last four holes.

McIlory endured a terrible start as he bogeyed five of his first six holes and was still five-over after 10 holes.

The Open Championship 2017 - Day One - Royal Birkdale Golf Club Source: Andrew Matthews

But he kickstarted his recovery with a birdie on the 11th before a strong finish, including birdies on the 17th and 18th, helps keep his hopes alive.

Shane Lowry also birdied the 17th to help him atone for a double bogey on the 16th as he finished two-over with Padraig Harrington, 2008 champion at this course, finished three-over.

The Open Championship 2017 - Day One - Royal Birkdale Golf Club Shane Lowry Source: Peter Byrne

Harrington hit 16 pars today but failed to make a birdie, while Darren Clarke finished five-over.

The Open Championship 2017 - Day One - Royal Birkdale Golf Club Padraig Harrington. Source: Richard Sellers

US Open champion Koepka’s eagle on 17 saw him finish on 65, joining Spieth at the top of the leaderboard on five-under.

Kuchar was one of the afternoon starters and produced a superb front nine as he reached the turn at five-under but nine straight pars on the back nine prevented him from improving his position.

There were also positive starts from Paul Casey and Charl Schwartzel who finished the day on four-under with Ian Poulter and Justin Thomas amongst those who finished a shot further back.

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Emma Duffy

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