Shaky start for McIlroy

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A somewhat rusty Rory McIlroy started with two bogeys in his first three holes at Sandwich today.

A somewhat rusty Rory McIlroy started with two bogeys in his first three holes at Sandwich today.

The 22-year-old US Open champion came into the tournament as favourite after his heroics at Congressional, but after a month without any professional golf, there were some signs of that he was not yet back to his best.

McIlroy three-putted from just over the green on the 1st, before carding another bogey on the par-three third to lie on two over.

His playing partner Rickie Fowler managed to hole out for a birdie from a very similar position on the first.

Play started a 6:30am local time, with 1989 champion Mark Calcavecchia among the early leaders after birdies at the fourth and seventh holes.

The 51-year-old eventually reached the turn in 33, joined at the top of the leaderboard by none other than Thomas Bjorn, the Dane who led in the closing stages of the Open the last time it was held at Royal St George’s in 2003 before a late implosion brought an end to his chances.

Bjorn was only the sixth reserve for the Open this week, but made the field after a number of withdrawals, and is making the most of his opportunity in the early exchanges.

After saving par on the first, he holed from 14 feet for a birdie on the second and almost did the same again on the next hole.

The 41-year-old again managed to save pars on the following two holes after good chips to within a couple of feet, and then holed from five feet for birdie on the par-five seventh.

Some players are struggling to even reach the seventh fairway in strong winds, and tournament officials admitted that some tees would have to be moved forward if conditions persisted.

That was the case again today on the par-three 11th, where Phil Mickelson and Luke Donald were both unable to reach the green with a driver on Tuesday.

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