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McIlroy's Open hopes in tatters after disastrous first round at Portrush

The home favourite’s dream day quickly turned into a nightmare.

A day to forget for McIlroy.
A day to forget for McIlroy.
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

Updated Jul 18th 2019, 4:01 PM

A DAY HE had been building up to for years transpired to be a day Rory McIlroy will want to forget. From start to finish, the home favourite endured a nightmare round on the Portrush links, eventually signing for a disastrous eight-over 79.

McIlroy was given a huge reception on the first tee, but his hopes unravelled immediately as he hooked his opening iron shot out of bounds and the four-time Major winner never recovered. 

He then pulled his second shot from the first tee into the rough, had to take a drop after finding an unplayable lie next to the green and two-putted to post an eight on the par-four first.

McIlroy briefly battled back after a bogey at the par-three third hole, but inexplicably three-putted the 16th from five yards for a double-bogey and then finished as he started, carding a triple-bogey on the last for a 79.

That left the 30-year-old 12 strokes adrift of clubhouse leader Shane Lowry, who rolled in five birdies in a fine four-under-par round of 67 earlier in the day. 

“Whenever you play your first and last holes in a combined seven-over par, it’s going to be a pretty tough day,” McIlroy said.

“I always get nervous on the first tee. But once I got out there it felt normal, just like another golf tournament. But yeah it was a rough day, a bad start, bad finish and it added up to a pretty dreadful day.” 

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© – AFP 2019

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