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Open favourite Rory McIlroy shoots quadruple-bogey on opening hole

Open favourite Rory McIlroy shoots quadruple-bogey on opening hole
© Reuters
The Northern Irishman suffered a nightmare start at Royal Portrush.

Open favourite Rory McIlroy suffered a nightmare start in his bid to win the Claret Jug at Royal Portrush after recording a quadruple-bogey eight on the first hole.

Northern Ireland's big hope for a home winner could hardly have begun in worse fashion after hitting his tee shot out of bounds.

His wayward ball hit a fan and cracked the screen of her mobile phone in her pocket before ending up five feet inside the out of bounds posts.

It was a criminal mistake, having taken a two-iron for safety, and he compounded that error by finding the left rough with his third off the tee.

He then hacked his 155-yard approach into a greenside gorse bush, was forced to take a penalty drop, chipped to eight feet but then missed for a seven.

That left him eight shots off the lead set by Ireland's Shane Lowry, who had four birdies between the third and the 10th, and Open debutant Robert MacIntyre at four under par.

Shane Lowry
Shane Lowry enjoyed a flying start to the Open (Richard Sellers/PA)

The 22-year-old Scot, who only turned professional late in 2018, raced to four under in an eventful seven holes which included an eagle, three birdies and a bogey.

Unlike McIlroy, former Open champion Darren Clarke got off to a dream start and was three under after six holes to briefly lead on a course which he calls home with a house overlooking the Dunluce links.

The 2011 winner, given the honour of hitting the opening tee shot at 6.35am, looked like he was enjoying reliving former glories in front of an adoring crowd.

However, things started to go awry from the par-five seventh, where he was forced to take a penalty drop in heavy rough, and a run of bogeys and birdies after the turn meant he reached the 17th tee on one under.

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Graeme McDowell pictured in March 2019
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