McIlroy shoots 80 at County Down

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Rory McIlroy conspired to card a disappointing 80 in the opening round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open on Thursday.

The Northern Irishman battled in around the iconic Royal County Down links course, eventually carding a nine over 80, leaving him stone dead last out the mornings’ groupings.

It is the world number one’s worst round since the Masters in 2011, where he shot 80 in the final round.

The conditions at the sea-side course were far from ideal, with a howling crosswind sweeping across the course, bringing the odd squall of rain. But McIlroy did not use this as an excuse for carding nine bogeys.

“It was not quite as difficult as I made it look,” revealed the 26-year-old on .eurpeantour.com.

“It’s disappointing because I want to go out there and play well, not just for myself but for a lot of other people. I’ll just have to pick myself up and go out there tomorrow and shoot a good one.

“My goal will be to make some birdies, make my first birdie of the tournament at some point. I felt like I put myself in good positions off the tee but I was caught between trying to play two ways.

“I was hitting it well on the range, keeping it down and hitting half shots, but the wind was not up that much on the course and that led to missing greens, which led to lots of eight to 12-foot putts for par, which led to missing all of them.”

McIlroy was paired with former US Open winner Martin Kaymer and world number nine Ricke Fowler. Kaymer stumbled to an eight over 79, while Fowler did nicely with an even par 71.

“It’s tough to see,” quipped the American.

“You don’t want to see someone struggle and not the start that he was looking for this week. I’m assuming that it’ll be a little different day tomorrow for him.

“That’s golf. We’ve all been through it, and I’m sure we’ll go out and have some fun, hopefully feed off of each other tomorrow.”

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