Irish contenders learn pairings and tee times for Open's return to Carnoustie

Rory McIlroy's attempt to win a second Open Championship will begin in the company of Marc Leishman and Thorbjorn Olesen.

The groupings and tee times for the first two days at Carnoustie were released this afternoon, with McIlroy's group to go out at 12.53pm on Thursday.

Padraig Harrington, who won at Carnoustie in 2007 and is the last player to win back-to-back titles, is due off at 2.48pm on Thursday alongside double Masters champion Bubba Watson and England's Matt Wallace.

Paul Dunne and Shane Lowry will both be out before 8am on Thursday. Lowry is grouped with Tyrell Hatton and Patrick Cantlay at 7.41am, while Dunne will play alongside Ross Fisher and Austin Cook at 7.30am.

Tiger Woods faces a lengthy wait to make his first Open Championship start since 2015 after being handed a late tee time for the opening round.

Three-time winner Woods, who missed out in the last two years due to injury, will get his campaign for a 15th major title under way at 3.21pm alongside Japan's Hideki Matsuyama and Irish Open winner Russell Knox.

Perhaps the pick of groupings sees defending champion Jordan Spieth partnered by Justin Rose and Kiradech Aphibarnrat at 9.58am.

At 1.04pm on Thursday, world number one Dustin Johnson will take to the first tee with Alex Noren and Charley Hoffman.

In the absence of 1999 Carnoustie winner Paul Lawrie, who would have been an ideal candidate to hit the opening shot but is ruled out through injury, fellow Scot and 1985 winner Sandy Lyle will have that honour at 6.35am.

Lyle is joined in the opening group by two-time major winner Martin Kaymer and England's Andy Sullivan, with former Masters champion Danny Willett also getting an early start at 6.57am.

Five-time major winner Phil Mickelson tees off shortly after 8am, while 2016 winner Henrik Stenson is out at 12.31pm in the company of course record holder Tommy Fleetwood and former US PGA champion Jimmy Walker.

Masters champion Patrick Reed has been drawn with 2010 Open champion Louis Oosthuizen and England's Paul Casey at 10.20am, with double US Open winner Brooks Koepka alongside Ian Poulter and Australia's Cameron Smith just before 3pm.

The final group of Matt Jones, Thomas Curtis and Bronson Burgoon tee off at 4.16pm.

Digital Desk & PA

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