It was a battle out there for the 2014 Open Champion, and he wasn’t the only man to need more than one to get out of a greenside bunker on 18…
Two-over through 12. Two shots in a greenside bunker on 18. Rory McIlroy was “pretty pleased” after finishing the opening day at level par.
The 2014 Open Champion was close to the par-5 last in two, but found himself in one of the dreaded greenside bunkers.
He was able to get up-and-down from his second shot in the bunker to save his par, shooting a 71 on the opening day.
“I wouldn’t have been too happy walking off the 18th with a bogey. Especially after the two shots I hit in there,” McIlroy said after his opening round.
“When you hit it into these bunkers, you are riding your luck at that point and hoping it is not up against one of those riveted faces.
“Jon [Rahm] and I did not have much of a shot with our thirds, so then you are just hoping to make par somehow and get out of there. Overall, two-over through 12, to get back to even for the day, I am pretty pleased with that.
“I needed to stay patient out there, it wasn’t the easiest of days, but I am still right in there. Go out in the morning and shoot something in 60s and I will hopefully be right in the mix.”
“As I said, two-over through 12. To walk off with even par, knowing that I had a few tough holes coming up, but the two par-5s as well. I think walking to the 13th tee, I would have taken even-par to finish the day and that is exactly where I ended up.”
McIlroy, the last man to win the Open at Royal Liverpool, birdied his second hole of the day, but went out in 36.
Another bogey followed at 12, before back-to-back birdies at 14 and 15 saw the Northern Irishman get level on the card.
“I didn’t really get it going on the front nine. I was missing a few putts and I missed that little one on the 8th hole. I had a good chance to get it back at 9. Hit a good putt but I just didn’t read it right.
“A few putts started to go in on the back nine for me which was really nice to see and hopefully I have got my eye in, and I can build on that over the next three days.”
NOW READ: Everything you need to know about the 151st Open Championship
Could the golf ball be rolled back for everyone?