Coach saves McIlroy’s round

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Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy was ready to blame his coach for nearly costing him valuable strokes at Turnberry on Thursday

Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy was ready to blame his coach for nearly costing him valuable strokes in the first round the Open Championship at Turnberry on Thursday..
The 20-year-old was two-under through seven holes when he pulled his tee shot into the thick rough on the par-four eighth at Turnberry – right in front of long-time teacher Michael Bannon.
However, despite the efforts of a vast number of his following supporters, it appeared McIlroy would have to declare the ball lost until Bannon stood up and found the ball underneath him.
“He knew where it was, so he went down and he was searching for it and searching for it, and he stood up and he was right on top of it,” said the world number 22.
“So if he didn’t stand up, I would have had to declare a lost ball and I would have made an eight or a nine or something.
“I was pretty lucky to find the ball and escape with a six.”
Overall McIlroy, winner of the Silver Medal for leading amateur at Carnoustie two years ago, was happy with his round.
After his excursion into the heavy rough he bounced back immediately with a birdie and two more, plus two bogeys, saw him finish with a one-under 69.
“There was a bit of good, a bit of bad and a bit of ugly,” he admitted.
“I thought I played very solidly. I had eight threes on my scorecard, which is good around here, good around any golf course.
“And I hit the ball a lot better today than I have been the last week or so.
“I’ve only missed a few fairways, and the couple of fairways that I did miss cost me a double bogey and a bogey.
“So if you’re just slightly off your game, you can make a couple of big numbers, but then if you’re on your game you can make this course look very easy today, which some people did.”

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