Rory McIlroy shoots disastrous quadruple-bogey on first hole as Shane Lowry holds early lead

His wayward first ball hit a fan and cracked the screen of her mobile phone in her pocket before ending up five feet inside the out of bounds posts.

Rory McIlroy shoots disastrous quadruple-bogey on first hole as Shane Lowry holds early lead

Open favourite Rory McIlroy suffered a nightmare start in his bid to win the Claret Jug at Royal Portrush after recording a quadruple-bogey eight on the first hole, as Shane Lowry enjoyed a flying start to lead.

Northern Ireland’s big hope for a home winner could hardly have begun in worse fashion after McIlroy hit his tee shot out of bounds.

It was a criminal mistake, having taken a two-iron for safety, and he compounded that error by finding the left rough with his third off the tee.

He then hacked his 155-yard approach into a greenside gorse bush, was forced to take a penalty drop, chipped to eight feet but then missed for a seven.

Shane Lowry enjoyed a flying start to the Open (Richard Sellers/PA)
Shane Lowry enjoyed a flying start to the Open (Richard Sellers/PA)

Four Irish players have held the lead this morning, with Darren Clarke, James Sugrue, and Padraig Harrington all hitting early birdies in their rounds.

2011 champion Clarke, who got to three-under, eventually finished on level par alongside Cork amateur Sugrue - both were part of the first group out this morning.

Two-time winner Padraig Harrington has slipped from two-under-par to two-over after 14 holes.

Graeme McDowell, playing on his local course, is two-under par after seven.

Updated with latest scores at 11:20am.

PA & Digital Desk

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