Rory McIlroy made a fantastic start to the ‘fiddiest’ Open of his career as his late return to St Andrews made the wait worth it.
American Cameron Young held the lead thanks to eight birdies in a clean 64, a score beaten only by McIlroy himself in the opening round of an Open Championship at the Old Course.
McIlroy’s 63 came back in 2010, followed by an 80 in foul weather while an ankle injury playing football prevented him from bidding to keep the 2015 Claret Jug at the same place.
The four-time Major winner, admitting this week, therefore felt like the title defense he never had and he enjoyed an ideal start, holed for a birdie from 55ft the first time and scored seven overall in his 66, the same Score he had shot up to start his wire-to-wire win at Hoylake.
In stark contrast, 15-time Major winner Tiger Woods started poorly, hitting his approach from a fairway divot into the Swilcan Burn and then carding just three birdies in a six-over-par round of 78 – completed six hours and eight minutes after the tee.
shot of the day
St Andrews’ famous road hole has inflicted countless disasters on players over the years, but John Parry of Yorkshire made it look easy. After taking a tight line on the right near the Old Course Hotel, he had 195 yards to the flag. Rebounding his approach just short of the green, he rolled to within one foot of the pin for a tap-in birdie.
round of the day
The Open debutant, whose only experience on the Old Course nearly a decade ago was the St Andrews Links Trophy, belied his inexperience to set an early marker. Five birdies in the front nine saw him go out in 31, and he won three more shots — though he also missed a couple of relatively short putts — that gave him a two-stroke lead at the front.
Tweet of the day
Statistics of the day
McIlroy is the first player to start two different Open Championships at St Andrews with rounds of 66 or less (2010, 2022).
The 465-yard, par-4 13th hole was the toughest hole, yielding just two birdies all day, with 58 bogeys and 12 double bogeys or worse, resulting in a 4.51 scoring average.
The 356-yard par 4 18th was easy to hit off the tee. 82 players birdied, there were two eagles and just two bogeys for a 3.46 scoring average.
The most important start times on Friday
8:25 a.m.: Scottie Scheffler, Tyrrell Hatton, Joaquin Niemann.
9:58 a.m.: Tiger Woods, Matt Fitzpatrick, Max Homa.
1:04 p.m.: Cameron Smith, Brooks Koepka, Seamus Power.
1:26 p.m.: Cameron Young, KH Lee, Robert MacIntyre
2:59 p.m.: Collin Morikawa, Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele.
Cloudy with showers, more likely in the early afternoon with chance of showers in the afternoon, but tending to stay dry. Winds will be between 5 and 10 mph, with gusts up to 15 mph.
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/golf/rory-mcilroy-tiger-woods-collin-morikawa-brooks-koepka-scottie-scheffler-b2123596.html Open House: Rory McIlroy is off to a fantastic start on his return to St Andrews