J.B. Holmes Holds 1-Stroke Lead After 1st Round of 2019 British Open

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IIJuly 18, 2019

PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 18: J. B. Holmes of the United States looks on the 18th hole during the first round of the 148th Open Championship held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 18, 2019 in Portrush, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

J.B. Holmes leads the way at the 2019 British Open at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland at five-under after Thursday's opening round.

The American produced a round of 66 to top the leaderboard by one shot from Ireland's Shane Lowry on a wet and windy day in County Antrim.

There are 14 players at three-under including Brooks Koepka, Sergio Garcia, Tommy Fleetwood and Jon Rahm.

   

British Open Leaderboard

J.B. Holmes (-5)

Shane Lowry (-4) 

Alex Noren (-3)

Webb Simpson (-3)

Sergio Garcia (-3)

Dylan Frittelli (-3)

Robert MacIntyre (-3)

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (-3)

Ryan Fox (-3)

Tyrrell Hatton (-3)

Tommy Fleetwood (-3)

Brooks Koepka (-3)

Lee Westwood (-3)

Tony Finau (-3)

John Rahm (-3)

Ashton Turner (-3)

The full leaderboard can be found on TheOpen.com

   

Thursday Recap

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy (R) walks off the 18th green during the first round of the British Open golf Championships at Royal Portrush golf club in Northern Ireland on July 18, 2019. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE        (P
GLYN KIRK/Getty Images

Pre-tournament favourite Rory McIlroy endured a miserable first round on Thursday to leave his hopes of winning the title for a second time in tatters.

The Northern Irishman started off with a quadruple bogey after his tee shot when out of bounds:

He finished off with a triple bogey on the final hole to card an eight-over 79 and could not hide his disappointment at his performance in an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live (h/t Saj Chowdhury at BBC Sport).

"I would like to punch myself. I made a couple of stupid mistakes," he said. "I was pretty nervous on the first tee and hit a bad shot. I showed some resilience in the middle of the round and was trying to fight back into the championship but then I finished off poorly as well."

Defending champion Francesco Molinari also found it tough going on Thursday. The Italian started with a three-over 74 and has a lot of work to do to get back into contention.

Three-time champion Tiger Woods also toiled and produced his worst-ever opening round at the Open:

Woods hit a string of bogies on the front nine and did not pick up his first, and only, birdie of the day until the 15th. 

While it was a poor day for some of the big names, Argentina's Emiliano Grillo produced a moment to remember at the 13th hole.

The 26-year-old hit the British Open's first hole-in-one since 2016:

Meanwhile, Holmes is the man to beat ahead of Friday's second round after an eventful day. He started off with a bogey but then produced three birdies from the next four holes.

The 37-year-old also secured a three-under back nine to take his place as the overnight leader.

It was also a good day for Lowry who is just a shot behind. The 32-year-old carded his lowest ever opening round at a major tournament:

PGA Championship winner Koepka is also well-placed as he bids for his first Open title:

The American could have done even better but a bogey at the 17th saw him drop a shot and join a raft of players two shots behind Holmes after an intriguing day of action at Royal Portrush.

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