Pattaya Daily News

16 July 2010 :: 15:07:01 pm 31471

Irishman Leads Star Studded Field at St. Andrews

Showing his vast potential, 21-year-old Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy upstaged a star studded field in the first round of the British Open to sit top of the leader board on nine-under 63.
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Scotland, the 15th of July 2010:  A flurry of first-round birdies and one eagle saw McIlroy finish the round with a course record 63, also equalling the lowest score in a Major. On soggy greens with not a breath of wind in sight, the Irishman overhauled South African Louis Oosthuizen’s lead and a pack of chasing favourites, including Tiger Woods.

Earlier, McIlroy looked on course for a record 62 when he struck a majestic approach shot to within six feet of the cup at the treacherous 17th ‘Road’ hole but missed his putt. “It sort of went through my mind on 17 that 62 would have been the lowest round in a Major,” the world number nine said. “That’s probably why I missed … but it was a fantastic score.

McIlroy, who beat a top-class field to win the Quail Hollow Championship in North Carolina in May thanks to a course record 62 in the last round, drove the green at the par-four ninth before calmly rolling in his 15-foot putt. That was the trigger for an inspirational run of five birdies in six holes.

As most of the afternoon starters toiled in the strengthening winds and occasional heavy rain, Englishman and world number three, Lee Westwood made light of the worsening conditions by mounting a charge. He put together a dazzling run of five straight birdies from the fifth and was denied six in a row when a snaking 30-footer lipped out at the 10th. Westwood eventually finished alongside Woods and a host of other players on 67.

Elsewhere, the world number one drove off early at the first to a lone cry from the galleries of ‘Woods time’ and started out with a safe par four. The 14-times Major Champion started his first tournament on foreign soil since revelations of his extra-marital affairs became public last year.

After a frustrating shot at the sixth, Woods sprang into action holing a 15-foot birdie put at the ninth, flashing a wide grin and tapping fists with playing partner Justin Rose. The 34-year-old American looked like staging a surge after notching a hat-trick of birdies from the 12th but a bogey at 17 and par at the 18th saw him sit four shots off the pace.

As ever, the tough links layout proved a great leveller with Sandy Lyle, the 1985 champion, carding a seven on the 17th after his tee-shot found the roof of the Old Course Hotel, while world number two Phil Mickelson wore as exasperated an expression as one could imagine after several lipped-out putts in his 73.

Reporter : Harry Roberts   Photo : Internet   Category : Sports News

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