Rory McIlroy Shoots 2-Under in 1st Round of 2018 British OpenJuly 19, 2018
Rory McIlroy had a solid start to his 2018 British Open on Thursday, carding a round of two-under 69 despite some struggles with his putter.
The 2014 champion did some great work with his approach play, especially on the back nine, and could challenge for the win if he can make some improvements to his short game. At the time of writing, the overall leader was Kevin Kisner, who is just three shots ahead of the Northern Irishman.
McIlroy will start his second round bright and early on Friday at Carnoustie Golf Links in Angus, Scotland, with his tee time scheduled for 7:52 a.m. BST (2:52 a.m. ET).
McIlroy's front nine was a frustrating one to watch, as the 29-year-old flashed his remarkable talent with some wonderful approach play and powerful stuff off the tee, but he always seemed to make a crucial mistake―usually with his putter.
He started his day with the driver and promptly found the bunker on the first hole, setting the stage for a what was to come.
The Northern Irishman would make his first birdie on the third after firing his tee-shot on the par-four past the green, and fans were hopeful it was the start of a run:
But with his putter, the ball just wouldn't drop throughout the front nine, and after a poor approach shot on the fifth, he missed low to get back to par.
Things hardly improved at the start of the back nine, with his struggles perhaps best illustrated by the sequence on the 11th.
After finding the rough, he brilliantly solved the problem with a single swing, putting himself just five feet from birdie. The ball would horseshoe out, however, and he had to settle for par yet again.
But birdies on the 12th and 14th gave him some momentum, and Justin Ray of the Golf Channel noted it was sorely needed if he wishes to lift the Claret Jug on Sunday:
His putter also started to click, resulting in this excellent par effort on the 16th:
McIlroy would go par the rest of the way, carding a solid round of two-under that left him tied for eighth, with plenty of players still to finish.