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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 July 2007, 15:52 GMT 16:52 UK
McGinley focused after fine start
Paul McGinley
McGinley sank the winning putt for Europe at the 2002 Ryder Cup
Paul McGinley is refusing to think about Open glory despite getting off to a flying start at Carnoustie.

The Dubliner held the clubhouse lead on four-under before Sergio Garcia's late round of 67 edged him two shots ahead.

"There is a long way to go and the last thing I'm thinking about is the last round on Sunday," he told BBC Sport.

"One thing I've learned is not to get ahead of yourself. I'm just looking to play like I did today - one hole at a time and one shot at a time."

McGinley's total would have been even better had it not been for bogeys at the 15th and 16th but the 40-year-old said he was happy with his opening round.

"I did play well today," he added. "I haven't played like that for a while, I hit some quality shots.

"It's been a tough run recently. I've been making most of the cuts but not playing quality. I just found something on the range this morning and felt comfortable out there.


"One thing clicked in my head and it felt good and then off I went. I putted really well. The greens are beautiful and it was a lot of fun seeing them go in. The roars were getting loader and loader.

"The course is set up really well this year so all credit to everyone in involved."

Fellow Dubliner Padraig Harrington had a fine up and down for par from a bunker at the last as he carded a opening 69.

Harrington admitted that his knowledge of the course, which he has played on as part of his two Dunhill Links Championship victories, has been an advantage.

"It is always nice to feel at home on a golf course," he said. "I am familiar with it and I am comfortable out there.

"I do know Carnoustie, especially in the temperatures we had today which is what you get in October.

"That save at the last was very pleasing. It's not often you get an up and down from there."

Sandwiched in between McGinlay and Harrington was Northern Ireland teenager Rory McIlroy.

The 18-year-old amateur, who carded an outstanding bogey-free 68, said: "I was just trying to take it all in and enjoy myself.

"I was very nervous but then I settled into my round. I made a birdie at the fifth and I got going after that.

"It is beyond my wildest dreams to have done this well. To have no bogeys going around here is always going to be good.

"This is the biggest event I have played in, it is huge. I have all my family with me and that is pretty special.

"Before the tournament my goal was to make the cut and win the silver medal but to be in the top 10 is great and hopefully I can build on that."

England's Luke Donald has given himself a real chance of making a challenge this week after starting with a one-under 70.

The 29-year-old had a solid start to his round with two birdies in his opening 11 holes and carded two birdies and three bogeys on the way home.

I'm not out of it and I put the smile back on my face

David Howell

"The wind direction is very challenging," he said. "It makes the last few holes quite difficult and long.

"You want to make birdies early on here with that wind and the aim is to be under par after 12 holes.

"I am a little bit disappointed as I played a few wayward shots but under par is not too bad in a major. It is a decent start."

England's David Howell said he was proud of the way he battled back from a nightmare start to end the day one over par.

The Swindon golfer, who has missed the cut in his last five Open appearances, was four over after finding bunkers in his first three holes but birdied four of the next five and after two more bogeys came back again with birdies at the 13th and 14th.

"I didn't know whether to laugh or cry on the fourth tee," he said. "But after making the birdie on four there was some light at the end of the tunnel and I was able to laugh about the start - I turned it around and I'm proud of myself.

"Me and this tournament don't go together and I feared it was going to be the same, but I'm not out of it and I put the smile back on my face."

Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke also had to battle back to end up on the same score as Howell.

He followed up his opening hole bogey with a double bogey at the fifth and another dropped shot at the next but bounced back with birdies at the 7th, 11th and 14th.

Nick Dougherty had a level par 71 and has now played an amazing 21 rounds at Carnoustie without shooting over par.

He said: "I'm keeping the dream alive.

"Level par is a good start considering I wasn't fully on my game. The finish here can easily take three or four shots off you. I'm very pleased with my position."

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