Rory McIlroy posts strong opening day at British Open

Rory McIlroy standing on a baseball field: Associated Press© Associated Press
Associated Press

The Open Championship is here!

We’ll be tracking all of the action from Carnoustie. Follow all Round 1 progress below:

UPDATE No. 17 (1:35 p.m. ET): Rory McIlroy lips out a 20-foot birdie putt at No. 18, but he signs for a nifty 2-under 69.

That’s a great start, and he’s only three back.

UPDATE No. 16 (12:15 p.m. ET): Not a ton of firepower so far in the afternoon.

Thomas bogeys to fall to 3 under through 13. Rory McIlroy is 2 under through 16, Tiger Woods is 2 under through six. Bryson DeChambeau eagles the sixth to move to 1 under. Jason Day is Even par through 13. Dustin Johnson sits 1 over through 15.

McIlroy, by the way, drained a 25-footer for par at the 16th to stay 2 under.

UPDATE No. 15 (11:30 a.m. ET): Justin Thomas is making a run.

Birdies at Nos. 9 and 11 push him to 4 under and he’s just one back. Tiger Woods has birdied Nos. 1 and 4 to quickly jump out to 2 under.

UPDATE No. 14 (10:35 a.m. ET): Tony Finau continues to kill it in the majors this year.

After top 10s at the Masters and U.S. Open, he opens in 4-under 67 here and is just one back. Rickie Fowler is in with a 1-under 70 after a closing birdie, so solid start for him. Tiger Woods is also 1 under after an opening birdie.

UPDATE No. 13 (9:55 a.m. ET): Spieth predictably bogeys the 18th after a tee shot in the water. That means a double bogey-bogey-par-bogey finish, or 4 over in his last four holes.

Spieth plummets from 3 under to 1 over in the matter of an hour. The defending champ squanders what looked to be a hot start.

UPDATE No. 12 (9:34 a.m. ET): Jordan Spieth goes double bogey-bogey at Nos. 15 and 16 to fall from 3 under to Even par. He just hit his tee shot at the 18th into the burn, too!

This has gone from a really strong first round to an average one at best in the matter of an hour. Yikes.

UPDATE No. 11 (9:27 a.m. ET): Tiger’s camp isn’t worried about his neck, apparently, but it’s still worth keeping an eye on.

UPDATE No. 10 (9:05 a.m. ET): Tiger has arrived, and as footage shows he has KT tape on his neck.

Not sure what that’s all about, but we had to note it. Tiger tees off in about 75 minutes.

UPDATE No. 9 (8:40 a.m. ET): Rory McIlroy has begun his round, and he’s just made a birdie at No. 3 to move to 1 under.

Rickie Fowler is now Even par through 13, with Jon Rahm 1 under through the same amount of holes. Spieth is 3 under through 14.

UPDATE No. 8 (7:50 a.m. ET): A birdie from Spieth at the 11th, and he’s now 3 under and just two back. Good stuff.

Another big name in Mickelson was disappointing on Thursday. He signs for a 2-over 73.

UPDATE No. 7 (7:35 a.m. ET): We have a new low number in the clubhouse.

Kevin Kisner birdied the 15th for three straight to move into the solo lead at 5 under. He then buried key par putts at 17 and 18 to close out a 5-under 66. That puts him in the lead by one.

UPDATE No. 6 (6:35 a.m. ET): Van Rooyen bogeys 18 but is in with a 4-under 67. That’s the low score in the clubhouse by two, with Danny Willett and Matthew Southgate firing 2-under 69s.

Rooyen still only co-leads overall, as Kevin Kisner has made back-to-back birdies to move to 4 under through 14.

UPDATE No. 5 (6:10 a.m. ET): Jon Rahm drives the third green! That’s a 350-yard hole he drives and make a two-putt birdie. That moves him to 1 under. (Ignore the 407-yard caption in the below tweet, the hole is about 60 yards less than that.)

UPDATE No. 4 (6 a.m. ET): The defending champ is out with some fire!

Jordan Spieth birdies Nos. 2 and 4 to quickly move to 2 under. He’s three back and T-6 at the moment. Van Rooyen still leads at 5 under (with one to play).

UPDATE No. 3 (5:30 a.m. ET): Danny Willett birdies the 13th and ties van Rooyen for the lead at 4 under!

The 2016 Masters champ has found some form again of late with a pair of top 10s (and an additional top 20) in his last five starts.

UPDATE No. 2 (4:35 a.m. ET): Van Rooyen birdies the 11th to keep the solo lead at 4 under.

Some background on the South African: He’s a 28-year-old ranked 144th in the world. His pro career started on the Sunshine Tour in 2013 and mainly found himself there until early 2017. He earned his first pro win with a victory on the Sunshine Tour in February 2017.

He then moved to the Challenge Tour, where he won in October. That propelled him to a third-place finish on the money list and earned him a European Tour card. In his first European Tour season, van Rooyen has a runner-up (Joburg Open) and three other top 10s. That includes a T-4 at the Irish Open, where he led after 54 holes.

This is his major championship debut.

UPDATE No. 1 (4:05 a.m. ET): Welcome to the Open!

Your early leader … Erik van Rooyen. Yep, the South African is out in 3-under 33. He leads by one over Danny Willett (2 under through eight). Phil Mickelson is among those just two back in a tie for fourth at 1 under.

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