Rory McIlroy's return to Royal Portrush an opening-round disaster

Francesco Molinari of Italy will attempt to defend his British Open championship starting on Thursday at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland

Francesco Molinari of Italy will attempt to defend his British Open championship starting on Thursday at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland

Only seven players were behind him on the leaderboard, including favorite Rory McIlroy.

McIlroy missed his par chance and went to quickly tap in - but caught the edge of the hole and made double-bogey.

The four-time major victor feels he would be higher on the leaderboard had he been hotter with the putter over the opening two days. The seventh hole was a par 5.

On a day when conditions were favourable for early starters, Holmes was at 8 under, tied with Shane Lowry, who was still on the front nine. He finished with a 66.

"I just want some time off just to get away from it".

"I'm sore. You've got to be spot on".

Olympic champion Justin Rose is a stroke further back alongside Cameron Smith and Justin Harding, with world number one Brooks Koepka ominously poised on five under in pursuit of a fifth major win in his last 10 starts. Perhaps that's why he saves his best golf for them. "It's a big advantage".

"I don't think I quite got in the zone - I know that sounds unusual but I've only been in it once or twice before when it gets to a point where you just see it and hit it".

"It's more frustrating than anything else because this is a major championship and I love playing in these events", Woods said. I don't have to do anything. "But there are times when I'm just not going to be there".

Compared to most courses in the Open rotation, Portrush has far more undulations.

Westwood said she "doesn't know too much about golf" but knew a lot about how his mind works.

"I'm happy that I had a chance to scrap today and actually did really well".

"I just go out there and have fun", Westwood said, downplaying any expectations.

The large group at 68 included Koepka, who has won three of the last six majors and looked very much capable of adding the third leg of the Grand Slam.

The three-time major victor, still only 25, moved his name up the leaderboard at the British Open on Friday with a superb four-hole run near the end of the front nine.

That showed in one last slash out of the rough in the rain on 18, then a putt from off the green that got only halfway there.

"This golf course is tricky in parts", Lowry said. One of those days where you find yourself pinching yourself. But if you play it right, you can make some birdies as well.

I'm going to enjoy today, I'm going to enjoy the position I'm in.

Tiger Woods tees off the 11th during the first round of the 148th Open Championship held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club. Though Spieth is ranked 16th on tour in first-round scoring and second in second-round scoring, he has been stumbling across the weekend like a drunken sailor on shore leave. And hit shots like normal.

He had an unplayable lie, so he took a drop and therefore was hitting six. Woods then made his par putt, pumped his right fist as the fans roared, and marched to the second tee. Spieth's fire, and Spieth's faith, are his best friends as he moved into second-round contention following his 4-under 67. "It was nearly like, well, that's sort of the worst that can happen".

"I'm not saying that it was the ideal start. It favors you if you're really striking the ball beautifully".

"I feel like me and my caddie have a good plan on it and we've felt comfortable and we've executed the shots". Half chances slipped by at 13 and 14, an incredible long, drilled iron to Calamity Corner deserved something better than another routine par and that was sadly that.