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Rory McIlroy Shoots 8-over at 2019 British Open, Finishes Round 1 Tied at 137

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 18, 2019

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy tees off from the 11th hole during the first round of the British Open golf Championships at Royal Portrush golf club in Northern Ireland on July 18, 2019. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE        (Photo credit should read ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP/Getty Images)
ANDY BUCHANAN/Getty Images

Rory McIlroy endured a poor start to the 2019 British Open on Thursday as he shot an eight-over 79 at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland.

The round leaves him tied at 137, 12 shots off the lead.

McIlroy set the course record of 61 at the age of just 16, but, perhaps feeling the pressure of playing in the major on home soil, the 30-year-old couldn't have started worse.

His first shot off the tee was not only out of bounds, it also hit a spectator and broke the screen of her mobile phone in her pocket. He then found himself stuck in the rough before he reached the green, having had to take an unplayable.

Once on the green, a two-putt left him with a quadruple bogey:

Sky Sports Golf @SkySportsGolf

Nightmare start for Rory McIlroy 😲 After going out of bounds off the tee, the favourite makes +4 on the opening hole 📺 Watch all four days of #TheOpen live on Sky Sports The Open or follow it here: https://t.co/PiRMXkYPcE https://t.co/z8eeu0BxRB

The Golf Channel's Will Gray had sympathy for the Northern Irishman, while Action Network's Jason Sobel had some fun at his expense:

Will Gray @WillGrayGC

Perhaps the biggest event of your career, the only chance you'll have to play a home major in your prime, and you make quad on the very first hole. Beyond brutal.

Jason Sobel @JasonSobelTAN

Rory McIlroy starts with a quadruple-bogey 8 on the first hole. Still might shoot 61, but then he’ll have to make the turn.

McIlroy's shaky start continued when he sent his tee shot on the second hole straight into the rough.

He managed to salvage the chance of a birdie on the par five, but he wasted it by dragging his putt wide from six feet.

Some more poor putting left him five over after three holes:

Sky Sports Golf @SkySportsGolf

Rory's horrendous start continues... A bogey on the 3rd takes McIlroy to +5 📺 Watch all four days of #TheOpen live on Sky Sports The Open or follow it here: https://t.co/PiRMXkYPcE https://t.co/GiM0wrailw

He managed to steady the ship with three consecutive pars, and a promising end to the front nine saw him card his first birdie at the seventh, sinking a putt from eight feet.

After narrowly missing out on another gain at the eighth, he holed out a 15-footer on the ninth for a second birdie:

Sky Sports Golf @SkySportsGolf

"That's more like it" Rory McIlroy is back to +3 after two birdies in his last three holes. 📺 Watch #TheOpen live on Sky Sports The Open https://t.co/LsybY3KgoM

The back nine began in more low-key fashion than the front with a series of pars, though the par-five 12th required a scramble after yet another trip to the rough.

On the 16th, his round took another turn as he shot a double bogey. Having missed par from just three feet, McIlroy contrived to miss his tap-in from mere inches away.

There was more drama to follow for McIlroy at the final hole. The Northern Irishman could only manage a triple bogey to make it a first round to forget for the pre-tournament favourite.

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