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McIlroy very pleased with his reaction to ‘wobble’

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Finding form: Rory McIlroy finished strongly after a poor start yesterday. Credit: PA

Finding form: Rory McIlroy finished strongly after a poor start yesterday. Credit: PA

PA

Finding form: Rory McIlroy finished strongly after a poor start yesterday. Credit: PA

Rory McIlroy hailed his back-nine fightback to card a level-par 70 in his opening round of The Open at Royal St George’s.

The World No.11 looked on the ropes when he bogeyed three straight holes on his front-nine to fall two-over in tougher afternoon conditions, but he rallied to play his final 11 holes in two-under to finish the day where he started, leaving him six shots back of leader Louis Oosthuizen.

No player has won The Open from outside the top-20 after the opening day in the last 10 years but 48th-placed McIlroy was pleased with his mental resolve.

“I said to Harry (Diamond, his caddy) walking to the eighth, let’s just try to get back to even. Then I birdied the eighth to get back to one-over and it was the goal in the last few holes to get back to even,” explained McIlroy.

“After that wobble on the front nine, I set myself a target and I was able to achieve that, and that feels good going into tomorrow.”

Meanwhile, 2011 Open champion Darren Clarke opened with a one-over 71 that he believed did not tell the full story of his round.

“My stats may have been misleading today, which frequently that’s what will happen on links golf,” insisted Clarke. “Overall I was pleased with the way I hit the ball and the way I played.”

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