McIlroy recovers from shaky start

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After a rocky start to his Open Championship campaign, Rory McIlroy recovered to shoot a first-round 71.

After a rocky start to his Open Championship campaign, Rory McIlroy recovered to shoot a first-round 71.

The 22-year-old US Open champion had a less than stellar start to his first round at Royal St George’s, bogeying two of his opening three holes.

But birdies at the eighth and 17th holes helped him recover from his indifferent start, and offset a third bogey at the par-four 13th, as he stayed patient and kept plugging away.

His one over par total still leaves him well in the hunt, after a blustery morning session that saw many players struggle to find their rhythm.

Coming off a month without any professional golf following his historic US Open win at Congressional, McIlroy definitely showed some signs of rustiness, firing each of his opening three approach shots through the back of the green.

Left with a 30-footer for birdie on the first, McIlroy could get it no close than five feet, and missed the par putt that followed.

After a par on the second, he raced a chip on the third 10 feet past the hole and missed the par putt there as well.

His third bogey at the 13th was again due to a missed five-footer for par, as the ball stayed on the left edge and refused to drop.

His best shot of the day, though, came at the 17th, where a magnificent approach shot led to only five feet for birdie – and he didn’t miss that one.

“It was ok, it was a tough day I had to stay really patient, I knew I wasn’t going to get too many chances for birdies but I’m happy with the way I’ve started,” McIlroy told BBC Sport after his round.

“When you don’t play a tournament for a few weeks you are itching to get back out there.

“As long as I can keep it around level par it’s going to be a good total and hopefully if I can do that then I’ll come close. I feel very fresh, I’m hitting the ball as good as I have done.”

McIlroy will be out at 14:10pm local time on Friday for the start of his second round.

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