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Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland holds up his ball on the 18th green after his round on the first day of the British Open Golf championship at the Royal Liverpool golf club, Hoylake, England, Thursday July 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
Golf: McIlroy and Woods deliver at British Open

First Published Jul 17 2014 09:33 am • Last Updated Jul 17 2014 11:12 pm

Hoylake, England • Rory McIlroy had everything go his way Thursday in the British Open.

A lovely summer day in England with abundant sunshine and minimal wind allowed him to attack Royal Liverpool. He made half his six birdies on the par 5s and kept bogeys off his card. And on the day Tiger Woods made a promising return, McIlroy took the lead with a 6-under 66, his best score in nearly two years at a major.

At a glance

Thursday’s results

British Open

At Royal Liverpool Golf Club

Hoylake, England

Purse » $9.24 million

Yardage » 7,312; Par » 72 (35-37)

First round

(a-amateur)

Rory McIlroy 32-34—66 -6

Matteo Manassero 34-33—67 -5

Brooks Koepka 33-35—68 -4

Edoardo Molinari 33-35—68 -4

Francesco Molinari 34-34—68 -4

Jim Furyk 33-35—68 -4

Sergio Garcia 32-36—68 -4

Adam Scott 31-37—68 -4

Shane Lowry 36-32—68 -4

Robert Karlsson 36-33—69 -3

Marc Leishman 33-36—69 -3

Koumei Oda 36-33—69 -3

Rickie Fowler 32-37—69 -3

Tiger Woods 36-33—69 -3

Hideki Matsuyama 32-37—69 -3

Jimmy Walker 34-35—69 -3

Yoshinobu Tsukada 34-35—69 -3

Boo Weekley 32-37—69 -3

Freddie Jacobson 35-35—70 -2

a-Ashley Chesters 36-34—70 -2

Ryan Moore 33-37—70 -2

Mikko Ilonen 34-36—70 -2

Thomas Bjorn 34-36—70 -2

Louis Oosthuizen 33-37—70 -2

Stephen Gallacher 33-37—70 -2

David Hearn 33-37—70 -2

Kristoffer Broberg 34-36—70 -2

Hiroshi Iwata 36-34—70 -2

George Coetzee 35-35—70 -2

Bill Haas 36-34—70 -2

Jason Dufner 33-37—70 -2

Rafael Cabrera-Bello 36-34—70 -2

Dawie Van Der Walt 33-38—71 -1

Matt Jones 38-33—71 -1

Erik Compton 35-36—71 -1

Ben Martin 35-36—71 -1

Branden Grace 34-37—71 -1

Stewart Cink 35-36—71 -1

Charl Schwartzel 36-35—71 -1

Jordan Spieth 35-36—71 -1

Dustin Johnson 34-37—71 -1

Hunter Mahan 37-34—71 -1

Marc Warren 33-38—71 -1

Graham DeLaet 33-38—71 -1

Chris Kirk 35-36—71 -1

Zach Johnson 33-38—71 -1

Lee Westwood 34-37—71 -1

John Senden 35-36—71 -1

David Howell 35-37—72   E

Bernd Wiesberger 37-35—72   E

Kim Hyung-sung 36-36—72   E

Kiradech Aphibarnrat 37-35—72   E

Darren Clarke 38-34—72   E

Harris English 35-37—72   E

Henrik Stenson 35-37—72   E

K.J. Choi 34-38—72   E

Rhein Gibson 38-34—72   E

Brian Harman 36-36—72   E

Nick Watney 39-33—72   E

Kevin Streelman 34-38—72   E

Thongchai Jaidee 36-36—72   E

Yusaku Miyazato 35-37—72   E

Justin Rose 34-38—72   E

Oliver Fisher 34-38—72   E

An Byeong-hun 36-36—72   E

David Duval 37-36—73 +1

Tom Watson 37-36—73 +1

Luke Donald 35-38—73 +1

Ian Poulter 39-34—73 +1

Matt Kuchar 37-36—73 +1

Oscar Floren 36-37—73 +1

Jamie McLeary 35-38—73 +1

Shawn Stefani 34-39—73 +1

Brendon Todd 33-40—73 +1

Kevin Stadler 37-36—73 +1

Martin Kaymer 36-37—73 +1

Jason Day 35-38—73 +1

Billy Horschel 38-35—73 +1

Keegan Bradley 35-38—73 +1

Richard Sterne 36-37—73 +1

Rhys Enoch 36-37—73 +1

Billy Hurley III 37-36—73 +1

Chris Rodgers 36-37—73 +1

Cameron Tringale 37-37—74 +2

Justin Leonard 36-38—74 +2

Ben Curtis 35-39—74 +2

Paul Casey 36-38—74 +2

Padraig Harrington 36-38—74 +2

Graeme McDowell 34-40—74 +2

Victor Dubuisson 36-38—74 +2

Ryan Palmer 35-39—74 +2

Roberto Castro 35-39—74 +2

Victor Rui 38-36—74 +2

Brendan Steele 40-34—74 +2

Charley Hoffman 34-40—74 +2

Brandt Snedeker 36-38—74 +2

a-Pan Cheng-tsung 38-36—74 +2

Danny Willett 38-36—74 +2

J.B. Holmes 34-40—74 +2

Phil Mickelson 35-39—74 +2

G. Fernandez-Castano 35-39—74 +2

Ryo Ishiskawa 36-38—74 +2

Tommy Fleetwood 36-38—74 +2

Ross Fisher 37-37—74 +2

Chris Wood 35-40—75 +3

Anirban Lahiri 37-38—75 +3

Thorbjorn Olesen 36-39—75 +3

Matt Every 39-36—75 +3

Brett Rumford 36-39—75 +3

Kim Hyung-tae 38-37—75 +3

Tyrrell Hatton 38-37—75 +3

D.A. Points 37-38—75 +3

Y.E. Yang 36-39—75 +3

Scott Stallings 39-36—75 +3

Pablo Larrazabal 38-37—75 +3

Michael Hoey 35-40—75 +3

Gary Woodland 37-38—75 +3

Wu Ashun 36-39—75 +3

Jonas Blixt 36-39—75 +3

Miguel Angel Jimenez 35-40—75 +3

Russell Henley 33-42—75 +3

a-Paul Dunne 36-39—75 +3

Gregory Bourdy 39-36—75 +3

Angel Cabrera 39-37—76 +4

Nick Faldo 36-40—76 +4

Tomohiro Kondo 36-40—76 +4

Paul McKechnie 37-39—76 +4

Juvic Pagunsan 38-38—76 +4

Webb Simpson 36-40—76 +4

Bubba Watson 34-42—76 +4

Kevin Na 38-38—76 +4

George McNeill 37-39—76 +4

Matthew Baldwin 35-41—76 +4

Todd Hamilton 37-40—77 +5

Peter Uihlein 41-36—77 +5

John Daly 38-39—77 +5

Jeong Jin 38-39—77 +5

Justin Walters 37-40—77 +5

Scott Jamieson 36-41—77 +5

Masanori Kobayashi 39-39—78 +6

Patrick Reed 35-43—78 +6

John Singleton 36-42—78 +6

Jang Dong-kyu 35-43—78 +6

Brendon De Jonge 38-40—78 +6

Paul Lawrie 38-41—79 +7

a-Bradley Neil 41-38—79 +7

Jamie Donaldson 39-40—79 +7

Ernie Els 42-37—79 +7

Mark Wiebe 37-42—79 +7

Chesson Hadley 39-40—79 +7

Chris Stroud 38-41—79 +7

Matthew Southgate 36-44—80 +8

Christopher Hanson 40-41—81 +9

Joost Luiten 41-40—81 +9

Sandy Lyle 38-44—82 +10

Bryden Macpherson 41-49—90 +18

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Now if he can only find a way to get to the weekend.

McIlroy either set himself up for a good run at the claret jug or another dose of Friday failures. In what already has been an unusual year for golf, no trend is more mysterious than Boy Wonder going from awesome to awful overnight.

Six times in his last eight tournaments, he has had a nine-hole score of 40 or higher on Friday that has taken him out of the mix.

"It’s not like I’ve shot good scores in first rounds and haven’t backed them up before," McIlroy said. "I’m used to doing that. I just haven’t done it recently. We’ll see what tomorrow brings and what weather it is and try and handle it as best I can.

"Hopefully," he said, "it’s just one of those things and I’m able to turn it around tomorrow."

Woods also would like to keep moving in the right direction. He got off to a troubling start with two quick bogeys, nearly made another one on the fourth hole, and then looked like a 14-time major champion when he ran off five birdies in six holes toward the end of his round for a 69.

Not bad for guy who had back surgery March 31, who started taking full swings only a month ago and who had not played in a major in 11 months.

"It felt good to be back out there competing again," Woods said.


story continues below
story continues below

Such pristine weather — how long it lasts is the big unknown — gave just about everyone a chance to score. Matteo Manassero broke par in The Open for the first time since he was a 16-year-old amateur. He began his round by hitting into a pot bunker, blasting out to the fairway and holing out from 160 yards for birdie. He made five birdies on the back nine, three on the par 5s. That made him low Italian — barely.

Francesco Molinari and Edoardo Molinari have games that are nothing alike, though they shot the same score. They were in a large group at 68 along with Jim Furyk, Sergio Garcia, Brooks Koepka, Shane Lowry and Adam Scott.

Scott stands out as the No. 1 player in the world, and because he was the only player in the top 10 who played in the afternoon when the wind made Hoylake tougher. Scott went out in 31 and was slowed only by two bogeys on the back nine.

Even in tame conditions, the British Open can mete out punishment — to players, to spectators and even a golf club.

Phil Mickelson was trying to get back to even par when he hooked his approach to the 18th beyond the out-of-bounds stakes down the right side of the hole and had to scramble for a bogey and a 74.



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