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Rory McIlroy: I wanted to punch myself after +8 shocker at The Open

Despair: Rory McIlroy shows his frustration as it all goes wrong on opening round at Royal Portrush
Despair: Rory McIlroy shows his frustration as it all goes wrong on opening round at Royal Portrush

By Brian Keogh

Rory McIlroy felt like punching himself after his hopes of Open glory on home turf suffered a devastating knockout blow at Royal Portrush.

As Shane Lowry led the Irish charge by firing a super 67 to lie just one shot behind American leader JB Holmes, McIlroy drove out of bounds and racked up a quadruple bogey eight at the first, then four putted the 16th before finishing with a triple bogey seven.

It all added up to an eight-over 79 - McIlroy's second-worst score in a major - and while he tried to take it on the chin, he was clearly devastated.

"I would like to punch myself," McIlroy confessed at the finish. "I made a couple of stupid mistakes. I was pretty nervous on the first tee and hit a bad shot.

"I showed some resilience in the middle of the round and was trying to fight back into the championship but then I finished off poorly as well."

His four-putt double bogey at the 236-yard 16th, Calamity, was the last straw and clearly left him reeling as he drove into deep rough at the 18th and took five more shots to find the green.

"The one that I'm disappointed about most is the little short putt on 16," said McIlroy, who came up six feet short with his long-range birdie putt, lipped out for par and then tried to tap in his tiddler one-handed and lipped out again. That was inexcusable."

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With his hopes of winning in tatters, just making the cut will be a massive task now.

"Seven over par combined on the first and last holes makes it very hard for you," McIlroy said.

"I hit my first shot out of bounds yesterday, but it went right so that might have been in my head a little bit.

"I turned the ball over a little too much. It was a poor tee shot but not that bad it deserved to go out of bounds. If I look back, I undid all my good work to recover on the last three holes.

"At the end of the day, I play golf to fulfill my ambitions, not anyone else's, but I wish I could have given the crowd something to cheer about.

"I let myself down more than anyone else and need to pick myself back up."

Belfast Telegraph


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