British Open: Rory McIlroy begins with disastrous quadruple-bogey 8

Royal Portrush during the Tuesday practise rounds

Royal Portrush during the Tuesday practise rounds

Northern Ireland's long wait to host the Open Championship comes to an end on Thursday as golf's oldest tournament gets underway outside of Scotland and England for the first time since 1951 at Royal Portrush.

The 2011 victor, given the honour of hitting the opening tee shot at 6.35am at Royal Portrush, holed a 15-foot birdie putt at the first.

The 30-year-old four-time major victor is tipped as one of the favourites for the first Open in Northern Ireland since 1951 but already found himself eight shots off the early lead held by Ireland's Shane Lowry.

THE X MAN: Xander Schauffele, who has played so well in the majors this season - T2, T16, T3 - and was runner-up at last year's Open, started with birdies in his first two holes and then moved to 3 under through five before suffering a bogey at the sixth. Eastern. He explains his success at majors this year.

"I'm just treating this like any other Open championship", McIlroy said.

Played on cream of the British Isles" seaside courses where the land "links' to the sea, the Open is also blessed with dramatic natural scenery before which the drama unfolds.

"I don't think when he grew up that he ever thought there would be an Open Championship here", said Koepka. It's certainly its most historic, and it brings out the greatest in all those who would dream of hoisting the Claret Jug.

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Inside the entrance to Rathmore Golf Club, just past a sign offering umbrellas for sale on a rainy day, sits a replica of the U.S. Open trophy the club's favorite son won at Pebble Beach in 2010.

The American has won four majors in his last nine and has tied for second at the Masters and finished outright second at the US Open after retaining his PGA Championship title. Royal Portrush has it all, and the British Open is not even three hours old.

Molinari will play alongside Bryson DeChambeau of the United States and Adam Scott of Australia on Thursday and Friday. After a brief inspection, McIlroy made a decision to take an unplayable lie, his second penalty stroke on the 421-yard starting hole.

Just got back inside.

He hit a brilliant approach to three feet at the short third for his second birdie of the day and the outright lead again. "So, however you can get it done".

Hole 16: Calamity Corner - 236 yards, par 3: This world-famous short hole has been stretched to 236 yards.

"I know that going into the Open as the defending champion will be a different experience, and I wanted to save as much energy as possible", he said, according to the Daily Mail.

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