The Open 2014: McIlroy leads as Tiger gets frustrated
Rory McIlroy sits top of the leaderboard after the first round of The Open Championship at Royal Liverpool – carding an impressive 66 to lead the Hoylake field.
McIlroy moved one shot clear of Italy’s Matteo Manassero and two better than a group of seven players including World No.1 Adam Scott and Spain’s Sergio Garcia.
But it wasn’t only the sun which shone brightly on the Northern Irishman during his round, as luck also played a large part. While he revelled in the calm conditions, his rivals felt the full force of a stiff breeze which sprang up later in the day to cause trouble for their games. Of course McIlroy still posted a bogey-free six-under-par round to achieve his second-lowest round in The Open. He was bettered only by the 63 he shot at St. Andrews four years prior.
"It's another great start and, yeah, looking forward to getting back out there tomorrow," McIlroy told reporters. The 25-year-old carded six birdies in his round – three going out and three on the back nine – but knows there is still much work to be done if he's to win his first major since his 2012 PGA Championship triumph.
"Whenever I go out and play on Thursdays there are not really many expectations," he added. "When you go back out on Friday after a good score... you're going out with some expectations. I think I've just got to approach it like that, start off trying to hit solid shots the first few holes and play my way into the round, just like I did today."
Contrasting the fine display of Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods struggled initially as he made only his second competitive appearance since undergoing back surgery. He bogeyed the first two holes but made a nice recovery on the back nine with five birdies in six holes between the 11th and 16th. He finished with a three-under 69 to sit tied for ninth, although he later told reporters he was encouraged by the comeback. "I'm getting stronger, I'm getting faster, I'm getting more explosive," he said. "The ball is starting to travel again and those are all positive things."
Woods did however have a few other issues not related to his golf skills and will be hoping to see more respect shown to him from the press and public when he next steps out for his second round later today – after complaining of disturbances from spectators’ phones and cameras.
Woods had similar issues with cameras and phones while trying to play back in 2006, which resulted in a ban the following year – and he complained again on Thursday evening.
"There were a lot of cameras and we were backing off a lot of shots, it was tough," explained Woods. "Unfortunately people don't put the phones on silent and some of the professional guys were getting on the trigger a little early."
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