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Rory McIlroy implodes at Muirfield as Open hopes look to be over

Rory McIlroy's Open hopes already look to be in tatters as he trails the leader by a massive 13 shots after his opening round at Muirfield.

The world number two, who has struggled since making a switch to Nike clubs earlier this year as part of a massive sponsorship deal, finished at eight-over on the Scottish links course.

He is a staggering 13 shots behind current leader, Zach Johnson of the United States who is five under par at 66.

Former Masters champion Johnson surged to the top of the leaderboard at the Open after the early front-runners failed to hold their positions.

McIlroy had bogeys on four, five, 10 and 11 - as well as his double on 12 - along with just two birdies over the first 14 holes.

It was better news for Padraig Harrington who managed to secure a par round in a tournament he has won twice in the past. Shane Lowry had a disappointing day, finishing on three over par.

And it was Zach Johnson, who lost a five-hole play-off at the John Deere Classic on Sunday, who made the most of the scoring opportunities early on.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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