Rory McIlroy is hoping to put an end his second round hoodoo after carding the lowest opening score of the 143rd Open Championship.

His six-under 66 – with six birdies on no bogeys – was posted at around 1pm and the Northern Irishman was still sitting pretty at the top of the leaderboard at the end of the day.

But with a second round 81 at St Andrews in 2010 under his belt along with a number of recent Friday failings, the field will not be giving up hope any time soon.

Most of the afternoon starters failed to make an impression despite similarly good scoring conditions. 

Fellow early starter Matteo Manassero put a marker down with a 67 while Brooks Koepka the Molinari brothers, Jim Furyk and Sergio Garcia also posted their 68s in time for lunch.

World No.1 Adam Scott and Ireland’s Shane Lowry were the only late finishers to find themselves on page one of the leaderboard with four-under 68s.

The Australian had threatened to go very low after an eagle at the 5th helped him to go out in 31 but bogeys at 12 and 14 contributed to a 37 on the back nine which included a remarkable, scrambled par-save on 18. 

The 10 players a further shot back includes 2006 Hoylake Open Champion Tiger Woods, Robert Karlsson and Rickie Fowler.
When you go back out on Friday after a good score, you know what you can do on the golf course" McIlroy insists he can build on his solid start despite his poor second round form.

“Whenever I go out and play on Thursdays there’s not many expectations,” he said. 

“You’re going out there and you’re trying to find a rhythm, and you’re just trying to play your way into the round. 

“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 many. 

“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. 

“I hit some really good shots on the first holes and that gave me confidence and then I could go from there. 

“But really 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.”

The double-major winner will begin his second round at 2.37pm.