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Page last updated at 12:04 GMT, Thursday, 15 July 2010 13:04 UK

Rory McIlroy leads the Open after stunning opening 63

The Open Championship, St Andrews, 15-18 July
Coverage: Live on BBC TV, Red Button, BBC Sport website, with updates on BBC Radio 5 live Full coverage details

Rory McIlroy
McIlroy produced a sensational opening round at St Andrews

Rory McIlroy leads the Open Championship after firing a sensational opening 63 at St Andrews.

McIlroy was only one under after eight but he eagled the ninth after driving the green and birdied five of the next six holes in a remarkable run.

The 21-year-old missed a short birdie putt on 17 but birdied the last.

Darren Clarke shot a 70 with Padraig Harrington on 73 while Graeme McDowell had a one-under 71 and Gareth Maybin carded a level-par 72.

Shane Lowry carded an impressive six-birdie 68 which included a three at the 18th after driving the green while Colm Moriarty shot a 72.

Harrington got off to a terrible start by carding a double bogey at the first after finding the Swilcan Burn following a duffed pitch.

The 2007 and 2008 champion struck a number of loose shots and also struggled with his putter.

Some eyebrows were raised after McIlroy was installed as second favourite for the championship by a number of bookmakers but the Northern Irishman produced a round of glorious shot-making.

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The world number nine made the most of the benign morning conditions as his round left him two ahead in the clubhouse from South African Louis Oosthuizen.

1995 champion John Daly, Scotland's Andrew Coltart and little-known Englishman all fired rounds of 66 while Tiger Woods was in a large group on 67.

McIlroy's round was the lowest opening 18 holes in Open history and equalled the lowest round in a major championship.

"We really needed to take advantage of the conditions this morning. The course was there to be taken apart," said McIlroy.

The Holywood man's control of his game was summed up by his glorious second shot to five feet at the extended Road Hole 17th but his birdie putt lipped out.

"The 17th has been kind to me over the last couple of years and I like the way the second shot set up for me as I can hit my nice high draw."

After an early bogey, Clarke battled well to get to three under after 16 but then bogeyed the Road Hole.



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see also
McIlroy delighted at record round
15 Jul 10 |  Golf
McDowell triumph inspires McIlroy
14 Jul 10 |  Golf
McDowell aware of major pitfalls
13 Jul 10 |  Golf
McDowell to partner Furyk at Open
12 Jul 10 |  Golf
Rose partners Woods at St Andrews
12 Jul 10 |  Golf
Woods suffers in St Andrews gales
11 Jul 10 |  Golf
Runner-up Clarke seals Open place
11 Jul 10 |  Golf
McDowell in historic US Open win
21 Jun 10 |  Golf


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