Portrush (UK) – A quadruple bogey from the first hole: Rory McIlroy could not have imagined worse debut on his home turf in Northern Ireland, Thursday on the first day of the British Open.
A favorite of the fourth and final major of the season, which he played for the first time at home, the Northern Irish, third in the world, was already four strokes above par by the first hole of the course of Royal Portrush.
Originally from Holywood, sixty miles south, McIlroy is in conquered territory, since at the age of 16, he had broken the Royal Portrush record with a 61 (-11) card.
In 2014, the former world number one had even won the famous British Major Award, a silver carafe, in Liverpool.
This year, for the first British Open played at Royal Portrush since 1951, the organizers are betting on the second largest affluence ever recorded, with an estimated 237,750 spectators expected.
Despite disappointment McIlroy, the audience on the course of the Royal Portrush was still able to get excited for another Northern Irishman, Darren Clarke.
The 50-year-old golfer, who won the British tournament in 2011, is five-under-par and thus trustees the top spots in the standings.