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Page last updated at 13:27 GMT, Thursday, 15 July 2010 14:27 UK

The Open 2010: Rory McIlroy delighted with record round

The Open Championship, St Andrews, 15-18 July
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Rory McIlroy

Round of the day - Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy was delighted after capitalising on helpful conditions to equal the lowest-ever round in a major at the Open Championship at St Andrews.

The 21-year-old hit a brilliant nine-under-par 63 in the first round, with seven birdies and an eagle.

"I had to take advantage of the conditions - the course was there to be taken apart," he said.

The round set a new official course record, beating Bradley Dredge's 64 in the 2006 Dunhill Links Championship.

Two players have shot a 62 on the Old Course - Curtis Strange during the old Alfred Dunhill Cup in 1987 and Brian Davis in the Dunhill Links Championship in 2003.

However, because the course has subsequently been lengthened, the records have been wiped out by the St Andrews Links Trust.

McIlroy - Course there to be taken apart

After McIlroy's amazing display, there have now been 24 rounds of 63 in major championship history.

He is the 22nd player to achieve the feat - and the first in the Open since Nick Faldo and Payne Stewart 17 years ago.

"It sort of went through my mind on 17 that 62 would have been the lowest round in a major. That's probably why I missed the putt," added McIlroy.

"It was a fantastic score. I didn't get off to a flying start. I was one under through eight holes and then the eagle on nine really sort of turned things around for me and I just got going from there.

"Graeme McDowell winning the US Open has given me belief.

"If he can win a major then so can I. The galleries were fantastic today. I'm teeing off in the afternoon on Friday and I'm hoping there will be a lot more support."

World number three Lee Westwood bemoaned the luck of the draw after he got the worst of the conditions in the first round.

Nevertheless, the Worksop golfer still managed a five-under 67 to stand just four shots behind leader McIlroy.

"It was definitely tricky out there for me," he said. "This morning was a piece of cake, you could kick it around in a decent score. The course was defenceless and I expected someone to shoot 62 for the first time in a major.

"The difference for the early and late starters was huge. One half gets it good, the other doesn't, so I have to be reasonably happy with a 67 in those conditions."

Rose - I should have done better

Scot Andrew Coltart matched his lowest-ever round in the championship with a six under par 66, after commentating on the event for the past two years.

"Doing the radio work at The Open was great because it really inspires you again. You're on the other side of the ropes and you want to be there," he said.

"It's better than standing in the rain beating balls trying to improve and it helped to get me up to get back out here.

"I think that's probably right up there with one of the best rounds of my career. It was a bit of a surprise and this one will be plugged in the memory banks for years to come."

Former champion Padraig Harrington was one of the few golfers not to enjoy himself in Fife, carding a disappointing one-over 73.

Harrington, the winner in 2007 and 2008, hit a double bogey at the first and never managed to recover on a day where his putting was badly off-colour.

"It certainly made it tougher. When you hit a bad shot, followed by a bad chip, followed by a bad putt then you lose confidence," he said.

"I hit the ball solidly but I just couldn't hole the putts.

"It is very frustrating because it's a course where scoring is good. It's tough when everyone else is going forward and I've been treading water all day.

Coltart - Great to get back out there

England's Ian Poulter was left to rue a number of missed opportunities as he carded a one-under-par 71.

There was not much wrong with the 34-year-old's game as he hit 17 of 18 putting surfaces in regulation but struggled to make the ball drop.

"The course was as easy as it's ever going to get. I didn't take advantage despite playing well," he said.

"Some days you hole putts and shoot nine under par and some days you make a couple of three putts, roll a couple in and shoot one under par and that was my round.

"I'm not going to be disappointed with the way I played though."

Little-known Englishman Steven Tiley was delighted after registering a six-under 66 in his first round at an Open Championship.

The 27-year-old's biggest claim to fame so far in his three-year professional career had been winning the Egyptian Open eight months ago.

"I'm quite big in Egypt, massive, on the billboards and everything - or I will be after this," he joked.

"But this is a different league to winning the Egyptian Open. As dream starts go that's it.

"It's unbelievable, everything went according to plan. I hit the ball great and kept out the bunkers which is what Tiger Woods managed to achieve over four rounds when he won at St Andrews in 2000."

Northern Irish golfer Rory McIlroy

The Open - Day one highlights

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see also
Magic McIlroy leads at St Andrews
15 Jul 10 |  Golf
The Open day one - as it happened
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The Open day one photos
15 Jul 10 |  Golf
Woods surprised by Open scoring
15 Jul 10 |  Golf
Open Championship R4 tee times
17 Jul 10 |  Golf
Golf on the BBC
01 Jul 11 |  Golf

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