Thursday, July 18

Favorite Son Rory McIlroy Opens With 79 at Royal Portrush in The Open Championship

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RORY MCILROY'S FIRST SHOT of the 148th Open Championship hooked out of bounds and led to a quadruple bogey 8 on the opening hole. Teeing off with an iron, feeling those first-tee jitters or whatever one experiences in those major moments, McIlroy couldn't keep his ball in play. It set the tone for a "disappointing" round.

He finished 8 over on Thursday carding a 79.

McIlroy was thrilled The Open returned to Royal Portrush Golf Club in his home country of Northern Ireland. Now it may be over far too soon for the favorite son and major champion.

"It was obviously a disappointing day,'' McIlroy said, as quoted by ESPN.com. "I didn't put it in the fairway enough to play. I kept saying that in the press conference [on Wednesday], you need to put the ball in the fairway here if you want to do well. I didn't do that enough [in Thursday's first round] to create enough scoring opportunities.''

The internal out of bounds at the 1st hole is controversial, but McIlroy didn't criticize the setup or make excuses about his start.

"Look, I was nervous on the first tee,'' he said. "But not nervous because of that. Nervous because it's an Open Championship. I usually get nervous on the first tee anyway, regardless of where it is. So maybe a little more so [on Thursday] than other places."

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