The Open day two: Rory McIlroy eager to build on promising start
World number two Rory McIlroy admits he cannot afford to let a promising start to the 150th Open Championship go to waste.
The Northern Irishman, winner of the Claret Jug in 2014, is just two strokes behind leader Cameron Young, who fired eight birdies in a flawless 64 – a score only McIlroy himself has beaten in the first round of an Open on the Old Course.
McIlroy’s 63 came back in 2010 and was followed by an 80 in terrible weather, while an ankle injury suffered playing football prevented him from bidding to retain the Claret Jug at the same venue in 2015.
“It’s another good start at a major, three in a row for me now, and I’m looking forward to the next few days,” said McIlroy, who is well aware he has failed to turn those good starts into overdue wins with a third-round 74 doing the damage in the US PGA and a 73 at the same stage of the US Open proving equally costly.
“I need to go out and back up what I just did. I think that’s important to do.
“I’ve been playing well, I’ve been swinging the club well, and I think it’s better if I don’t think about it that much and I just go out and play golf and try to shoot some good scores on one of my favourite golf courses in the world.”
In stark contrast, 15-time major winner Tiger Woods started badly, hitting his approach from a fairway divot into the Swilcan Burn at the first, and went on to card just three birdies in a six-over-par round of 78 – completed six hours and eight minutes after teeing off.
The American’s playing partner Matt Fitzpatrick, the new US Open champion, was less-than impressed.
“It’s just a joke, isn’t it? Like six hours, 10 (minutes). This just shouldn’t be happening ever in golf,” said the Sheffield golfer.
“It’s just sad more than anything. It’s just ridiculous.”
Shot of the day
St Andrews’ famous Road Hole has caused countless calamities for players over the years but Yorkshireman John Parry made it look simple. Having taken a tight line down the right-hand side, close to the Old Course Hotel, he had 195 yards to the flag. Bouncing his approach in short of the green it rolled up to within a foot of the pin for a tap-in birdie.
Round of the day
Cameron Young – 64
The Open debutant, whose only experience of the Old Course was in the St Andrews Links Trophy almost a decade ago, belied his inexperience to lay down an early marker. Five birdies on the front nine saw him go out in 31 and he gained three further shots – although he also missed a couple of relatively short putts – that saw him establish a two-stroke lead at the top.
Tweet of the day
Statistic of the day
McIlroy is the first player to begin two different Open Championships at St Andrews with rounds of 66 or lower (2010, 2022).
The 465-yard par-four 13th played as the toughest hole, yielding just two birdies all day, with 58 bogeys and 12 double-bogeys or worse resulting in a scoring average of 4.51.
The 356-yard par-four 18th was easily reachable off the tee. Eighty-two players made birdie, there were two eagles and just two bogeys for a scoring average of 3.46.
Friday’s key tee times
8.25am: Scottie Scheffler, Tyrrell Hatton, Joaquin Niemann.
9.58am: Tiger Woods, Matt Fitzpatrick, Max Homa.
1.04pm: Cameron Smith, Brooks Koepka, Seamus Power.
1.26pm: Cameron Young, KH Lee, Robert MacIntyre
2.59pm: Collin Morikawa, Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele.
Cloudy with outbreaks of rain, more likely early on with a chance of a shower in the afternoon but tending to stay dry. Winds will be between 5mph to 10mph, with gusts up to 15mph.
Adam Scott relishing chance to experience a career first at the Australian Open
The tournament sees men, women and golfers with disabilities competing on the same course at the same time.
Tiger Woods backs up Rory McIlroy and says LIV Golf boss Greg Norman ‘has to go’
Woods called McIlroy a ‘true leader’ as he spoke out about the Saudi-funded breakaway.
Tiger Woods withdraws from Hero World Challenge due to foot problem
The former world number one has not played since the Open Championship in July.
Tiger Woods to partner son Charlie in next month’s PNC Championship
Woods has not played since the Open Championship in July.
I want to fulfil my dreams – Adam Scott in no mood to lower expectations
Scott is seeking a third Australian PGA Championship title this week in his native Queensland.
Nicolas Colsaerts named a vice-captain for Europe’s Ryder Cup team
The Belgian joins Thomas Bjorn and Edoardo Molinari on Luke Donald’s staff.
Ireland’s Ancient East: Golf attractions alongside stunning beauty of Kildare
Ireland has a rich mix of tourist attractions across its varied and beautiful terrain.
Rory McIlroy crowned top golfer in Europe despite Jon Rahm claiming Dubai title
The Spaniard’s two-shot victory over England’s Tyrrell Hatton and Sweden’s Alex Noren was his third in six years at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
Leona Maguire shoots day’s best to tie Lydia Ko in chasing LPGA’s largest prize
Maguire is chasing her second title while Ko is close to claiming her second straight LPGA Tour player of the year.
Rory McIlroy edges ahead of Matt Fitzpatrick in race to be European number one
McIlroy’s third round of 65 at the DP World Tour Championship put him back ahead of his rival in the rankings.