Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Rory McIlroy makes an impressive start at The Open

So Rory McIlroy is off to a flying start at Royal Liverpool. Nothing new there – he tends to hit the ground running in The Open, last year being a notable exception to that norm. But just as he has made a habit of starting well, so too we have come to expect something rather less impressive on day two.

He has lurched from sublime to substandard on a number of occasions, the most recent example being last week's Scottish Open in Aberdeen where he shot a course record 64 on the first day, only to follow that up by posting an abject 78 on the second.

Yesterday he served up a flawless opening round 66. Something comparable today would do very nicely.

The crème de la crème are those who deliver consistently. It is the ability to do it time and again that differentiates between the true masters of their trade and those whose moments of magic too often are punctuated by errors and the loss of control or discipline under pressure.

With two Majors – US Open 2011 and the PGA in 2012 – already bagged, 25-year-old McIlroy has the potential to be a true giant of world golf, right up there with Nicklaus and Woods. An Open triumph this weekend would be a massive step on the road towards that status.

And if he wants a fellow-Ulsterman to emulate, he need look no further than AP McCoy who now is within one win of a record-breaking 4,192 firsts, a total he hopes to each tomorrow at Market Rasen.

What a double for Northern Ireland if McIlroy and McCoy were to triumph in their respective quests this weekend.

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