By Bernie McGuire at Carnoustie.
Rory McIlroy was clearly disappointed after being left short-changed despite a solid four-under par opening round of a 68 at Carnoustie at the 21st anniversary of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
McIlroy, starting from the 10th hole, raced to five-under through 11 holes of his round though he played his remaining eight holes in one-over par.
It was almost benign conditions at Carnoustie, one of the three host venues, and in stark contrast to predicted Friday conditions which are set to pound the $5m event forcing Tour officials to announce that day two will be a shotgun 8.30am start on each course to try and beat the expected brutal weather conditions.
The World No. 2 birdied his second, third, fourth and seventh holes and then his 11th but proceeded to bogey his 12th hole, birdie his 15th and then was forced after much deliberation to take a penalty drop when he second shot into the ninth or his last was right up against an OB marker resulting in a closing bogey.
“It’s very benign in these conditions, and there’s not much rough and I was just saying how short the golf course played in this north wind,” he said. “I was hitting 7-iron into a couple of the par 5s and getting it close to a few of the greens, you’re not going to get Carnoustie any easier.
“I felt like I left a few out there. I got off to a great start and then the last nine holes was a bit scrappy.
“Though it’s going to be hard tomorrow with Kingsbarns Links very exposed and you’ve got greens that are on high points, I think when the weather turns here, Kingsbarns can sometimes be the toughest. On a day like today, it’s definitely the easiest. Just have to wait and see.”
Despite his disappointment in ending with a bogey, Irish Golfer asked him to single out what was good about his game, at a venue where in 2007 he heralded his enormous talents in capturing the ‘Silver Medal’ in being the Low Amateur in the Open Championship which was won by fellow Irishman Padraig Harrington.
“I’m putting nicely and I hit some nice putts again,” he said.
“I only played practice rounds at Kingsbarns and the Old Course, so this is my first time around here this week so I was pleasantly surprised how good the greens are around here. Nice to see the ball rolling and held a couple of nice ones, a couple of decent birdies.
“Overall, it was decent. I can build on it and as I mentioned, it would be nice to get some better weather tomorrow at Kingsbarns but we shall see.”
Shane Lowry, who was in the group behind McIlroy posted a two-under 70.
Frenchman Romain Langasque was the early championship leader grabbing two eagles and eight birdies, along with a lone bogey, in a blistering round which tied the Old Course record of an 11-under par 61 set by England’s Ross Fisher in the final round of the 2017 championship.
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