PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland (Reuters) – Local favourite Rory McIlroy suffered a nightmare start at the British Open on Thursday as he carded a quadruple bogey eight on the par-four first at Royal Portrush.
The Northern Irishman, winner in 2014, walked on to the tee to huge roars but drove his tee shot out of bounds, breaking a spectator’s phone in the process.
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.
McIlroy then chipped on to the green where he eventually picked his ball out of the hole with a eight on his card.
The 30-year-old four-time major winner is tipped as one of the favourites for the first Open in Northern Ireland since 1951 but already found himself eight shots off the early lead held by Ireland’s Shane Lowry.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)