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Kisner and McIlroy enjoy strong first day at Carnoustie

The American led the Open Championship after round one while McIlroy put himself in contention for a second Claret Jug.

American Kevin Kisner held the first-round lead as Rory McIlroy made an encouraging start to the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Kisner, who led by a shot after 54 holes of last year’s US PGA before finishing seventh, carded a five-under-par 66 to secure a one-shot lead over compatriot Tony Finau and the South African pair of Erik van Rooyen and Zander Lombard.

McIlroy, who is seeking a first major title since 2014, was part of a large group on two under par which also included Spain’s Jon Rahm, world number two Justin Thomas, 2015 winner Zach Johnson and the English pair of Danny Willett and Matthew Southgate.

Tweet of the day

England’s Chris Wood sees the funny side after bizarrely being replaced by Japan’s Hideto Tanihara on a television graphic.

Shot of the day

Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat was four over for the day and in danger of dropping another shot on the 17th, only to see his approach take one bounce and plunge into the hole for an unlikely birdie.

Round of the day

Kisner’s round did not start off too well with four pars followed by a bogey on the fifth, but he then made an eagle on the par-five sixth and picked up four birdies to set a clubhouse target which was never matched.

Quote of the day

“Pitch black.” – Former Masters champion Danny Willett when asked the extent of his “dark” times since victory at Augusta National in 2016.

Stat of the day

The Golf Channel’s Justin Ray gives hope to the Tiger Woods fans.

Toughest hole

Unsurprisingly the 248-yard par-three 16th played as the hardest hole, giving up just four birdies and causing 60 bogeys, with seven double bogeys or worse leading to a scoring average of 3.46.

Easiest hole

Again not a surprise to see the 14th play the easiest hole, a short par-five by modern standards made even easier by playing downwind. More than half the field broke par – although Woods was not among them – and six eagles and 76 birdies resulted in a scoring average of  4.54.

On the up

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Erik van Rooyen was among the leading group (David Davies/PA)

The prospects of a South African winner after Van Rooyen and Lombard claimed a share of second place, with Scottish Open winner Brandon Stone just two shots off the pace.

On the slide

Butch Harmon’s chances of getting a Christmas card from McIlroy after the renowned coach suggested the four-time major winner looked “robotic” when working on his problematic putting.

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