After four years in the making, Royal Portrush ready for Open glory

The Open Championship 2019 – Day One – Royal Portrush Golf Club

The Open Championship 2019 – Day One – Royal Portrush Golf Club

Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods endured miserable first rounds at the British Open on Thursday with American J.B. Holmes ending in the lead after shooting a five under-par 66 at Royal Portrush.

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland's long wait to host the Open Championship came to an end on Thursday as golf's oldest tournament got under way outside of Scotland and England for the first time since 1951 at Royal Portrush.

McIlroy started the day with a quadruple bogey, and finished 8 over, in an extremely disappointing opening round.

"I want to play here as long as I possibly can, and you have to understand if I play a lot, I won't be out here that long", Woods admitted. "Obviously, I got off to a rough start". But I feel I'm doing a good job of learning'.

His wayward ball hit a fan and cracked the screen of her mobile phone in her pocket before ending up five feet inside the out of bounds posts. "Everything was left-to-right. And wasn't hitting very solidly".

"It was nearly as if that first tee shot settled me down a little bit". Duval sent his shot into high grass where it was likely to be lost, so he hit a provisional.

His follow-up attempt off the tee found heavy rough from where he struck his next shot into an unplayable lie in a bramble bush, forcing a penalty drop.

It only means he needs to be smart in managing his body and schedule, and then opportunistic when everything in his dialed-back game and diminished skill set happens to click once or twice every two or three years.

It was Clarke's win in the 2011 Open at Royal St George's in Kent that prompted talks between the tournament organizers and Northern Irish players, including Portrush native Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy, about bringing the event back to the course. "Didn't take advantage of anything to really go low", said Koepka, who has finished in the top two of all three majors this year and is looking to add the Claret Jug to his two US Opens and two PGA Championship titles.

No major victor in the past 20 years started a tournament with worse than a double-bogey. But then things fell apart in the final three holes.

He also triple-bogeyed No. 18, double-bogeyed No. 16 and bogeyed No. 3, while managing to birdie at Nos. He missed a 4-footer for par and then slapped and missed a 1-footer for bogey. "It was a bit of a tentative golf swing with a hard wind off to the right and the ball just got going left on me".

McIlroy says "I'm pretty sure anyone starting with a 79 in this golf tournament doesn't think about winning at this point".

It was tough viewing as McIlroy scratched his way through the early holes.

The four-times major champion ended his day knowing he will need a stellar second round merely to make the halfway cut.