McIlroy stays in touch at Carnoustie despite driving woes

2014 Open Champion Rory McIlroy was pleased with his start after he compiled an under-par score on day one of the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie.

McIlroy shot a two under 69,  hit just four out of 15 fairways from the tee and missed some short putts but he picked up three birdies and dropped just one shot.
 
The 29 year old Northern Irishman said: “I didn’t see the fairway much but it’s very playable from not in the fairway. As long as you don’t hit it in the fairway bunkers, you’re always going to have a shot at the green.
 
“That’s why I tried to stay as aggressive as I possibly could even though I wasn’t hitting the driver maybe as well as I could.
 
“It wasn’t pretty off the tee but I got it done and I took advantage of some unfortunate bounces. I would have taken 69 to start the day.”
 
At the top after a remarkable display of putting, Kevin Kisner shot a five under par 66 to hold the first round at Carnoustie.
Kisner’s five under total was one ahead of compatriot Tony Finau and South African pair Zander Lombard and Erik van Rooyen.
 
Kisner said: “The golf course is great for me. The conditions have been fine. Going forward, you never know what you’re going to have in Scotland.
“I know the rain is coming in tomorrow. I don’t think the rain is going to affect how the golf course is playing in one day, but I have to just keep doing what I’m doing.
 
“If I have 22 putts the next three days, I bet I’ll have a pretty good shot.
“I think I only hit four drivers all day, maybe five. I just want the ball on the fairway because it’s not an overly long golf course.
 
“Maybe five iron was the longest. I hit a hybrid into 12. You’re not going to have that many long clubs into the hole.
“If I can keep it on the fairway, I feel like I can control my golf ball around the green. The greens are calm, and around the greens are flat.
 
If I have 22 putts the next three days, I bet I’ll have a pretty good shot – Kevin Kisner
“I feel like any time I’m around the green I’m going to make four or par at the worst. So that’s been my game plan.”
 
Kisner is sharing accommodation with defending champion Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Jason Dufner, Zach Johnson, Jimmy Walker – with eight major titles between them – and Rickie Fowler, with only Fowler and Kisner still seeking their first major success.
 
Of the other Irish competing in Carnoustie, Paul Dunne finished at level par 71 with Shane Lowry on +3. Padraig Harrington carded a double bogey on the last to card a disappointing +5 tally while Darren Clarke had a day to forget after shooting +11.