Belfast Telegraph

Rory rocks Tiger

By Peter Hutcheon

Rory McIlroy had the whole of Northern Ireland cheering him on as he shot an incredible 68 to start today's second round of the Open Championship at Carnoustie, in third place.

And the Holywood teenager who will not turn pro until after the Walker Cup at Royal County Down, beat every player in the field yesterday, including Tiger Woods, by being the only one not to drop a shot on the opening day.

The 18-year-old deserved the plaudits and media attention, finishing one shot ahead of the Tiger and winning his three-ball against playing partners and Ryder Cup duo Miguel Angel Jiminez and Henrik Stenson.

"To finish one better than Tiger is just amazing," he said.

"Ever since I saw him win the US Amateur in 1996, I have been Tiger mad, he's always been my hero, and I can't believe what has just happened.

"It felt like the whole of Northern Ireland was out there supporting me and I have a lot of family and friends over here which is great.

"It's just been an amazing day."

McIlroy lies just three shots off overnight leader Sergio Garcia whose 65 took him to six under for the tournament.

Rory received the biggest ovation of the day as he walked down the 18th fairway after hitting a simply stunning approach over the Barry Burn.

"That sent a tingle down my spine," he said. "The support I got was tremendous."

"But that was a great shot in, a two-iron from 230 yards into the wind. I just hit it as hard as I could. I never thought about making a bogey all day because I never really got myself into positions where I had to think about them.

"Two of the pars I made did feel like bogeys, because I should have birdied them!

"But you have to be happy with a 68 and I'll happily take three more of them and then see where we are on Sunday."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph