Tagged in: Gol news

Rory McIlroy makes nightmare start at County Down

golf news(espn.go.com)- Rory McIlroy suffered a nightmare first round at the Irish Open as he shot his highest total since his final-day Masters meltdown in 2011.

The world No. 1 reached the turn at 41 and finished with a nine-over 80, leaving him dead last of the morning’s 78 starters.

McIlroy is now in danger of missing the cut at his home event for the third successive year.

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Rickie Fowler carded a 71 to move two shots off Danny Willett and Soren Kjeldsen, who share the early lead at two under.

McIlroy, though, failed to hit a single birdie along with Martin Kaymer (79) in windy conditions at Royal County Down on Thursday, having missed the cut at Wentworth.

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Former champion Padraig Harrington impressed in the afternoon’s slightly easier conditions to post a four-under 67, which was later matched by Max Kieffer.

Harrington, who enjoyed his first victory on a major tour since the 2008 US PGA at the Honda Classic in March, rallied from one-over after 10 holes to card five birdies in his next six.

oren Hansen is a shot further back at three-under, while Englishman Danny Willett sits two-under after his opening round of 69.

Elsewhere, former world No.1 Luke Donald carded a 70 to move one-under. The Englishman dropped out of the world’s top 60 on Monday and misses out on qualifying for the US Open. However, a top 10 finish in Northern Ireland may see him earn one of the three available places for the Open at St Andrews.

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