McIlroy blitzes first round of The Open but will ‘Freaky Friday’ return?

Joy Chakravarty 18:51 17/07/2014
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Leader of the pack: McIlroy heads The Open after a bogey-free six-under par 66.

Rory McIlroy started yet another tournament with a blistering opening round.

But it’s no big deal really – he has done that several times in the past. Just about everyone at The Open Championship here is now focused on what he does in the second round on Friday.

A bogey-free six-under par 66 put the 24-year-old Northern Irishman firmly on top of the leaderboard, one ahead of Matteo Manassero among the morning group of players who finished.

McIlroy kickstarted his round on the second hole when he hit his 6-iron second shot to inches from the pin for the first birdie, and the picked up shots on the fifth, sixth, 10th and 16th holes.

After the round, he said: “Anytime you shoot 66 at the Open Championship, you’re going to be pleased.

“We had perfect scoring conditions out there this morning. There wasn’t much wind early on. The wind started to pick up a little bit on the back nine, but there were plenty of opportunities to make birdies. I was able to take a few of them. Another great start and I'm looking forward to getting back out there tomorrow.”

However, most questions directed at the world No8 were on how he plans to tackle his ‘Freaky Friday’ syndrome, especially with the weather predicted to be not the most conducive for good scoring.

“I feel like I’m well prepared this week for whatever the conditions. I’ve practiced in windy conditions the last few weeks. I’ve practiced the shots that I might need for a bad day like tomorrow might be,” said McIlroy.

“Will that help in anyway? It might do, because you’re really just concentrating on one shot at a time when the weather is like that. It’s not like I’ve shot good scores in first rounds and haven’t backed them up before. I’m used to doing that. I just haven’t done it recently.

"We’ll see what tomorrow brings and what weather it is and try and handle it as best I can.

“When you go back out on Friday after a good score, you know what you can do on the golf course. So you’re going out with some expectations compared to when on Thursday you’re going out with not much.

“I think I’ve just got to approach it like that, and start off trying to hit solid shots the first few holes and play my way into the round, just like I did today; just take it one hole at a time, one shot at a time. I know everyone says it and you’ve heard it a million times, but it’s true. That’s what I’ll be trying to do tomorrow.”

And the Manchester United fan said he was delighted to get the support he got this morning from what he presumed to be predominantly Liverpool fans.

“I did get terrific support, even though I support Man United,” quipped McIlroy. “I took my hat off on 16 or 17, walking up the fairway, I heard someone say, ‘Get a hair cut’. Apart from that, no other witty comments. The support out there was really great.

"Hopefully I can give them a lot more to cheer about over the next few days.”

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