18 Jul 2014

Open opens with top scoring

4:18 pm on 18 July 2014

The Northern Irish golfer Rory McIlroy leads the Open Championship after shooting a bogey-free six-under opening round of 66 at Royal Liverpool.

Norther Irish golfer Rory McIlroy.

Norther Irish golfer Rory McIlroy. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

McIlroy has endured an inconsistent spell of recent form, struggling to back up impressive first-round performances the following day.

At Hoylake, he produced three birdies either side of the turn to lead Italian Matteo Mannassero by a shot.

Two other Italians, the Molinari brothers Edoardo and Francesco are tied for third, two shots off the lead, along with Jim Furyk and Adam Scott.

Tiger Woods started with two bogies, but picked up five birdies in six holes as he carded a three under par opening round of 69 to be tied for ninth.

Defending champion Phil Mickelson fired a two over par 74 to be tied for 82nd.

America's ESPN TV network has devoted an entire channel to coverage of Woods throughout the championship.

One of the major casualties of the day has been the dual Open champion Ernie Els, who shot a 79.