Rory McIlroy celebrated getting off to a fantastic start to the “toughest” Open of his career, as his delayed return to St Andrews proved the wait was worth it.
American Cameron Young held the clubhouse lead after Thursday’s first round thanks to eight birdies in a flawless 64, a score bettered only by McIlroy himself in the first round of an Open Championship on the Old Course.
McIlroy’s 63 returned in 2010 and was followed by an 80 in terrible weather, while an ankle injury sustained playing football prevented him from bidding to retain the Claret Jug in the same venue in 2015.
The four-time major winner admitted this week that it therefore felt like the title defense he never had and enjoyed an ideal start, holing from 55 feet for birdie in the first and hitting seven overall in his 66, the same score he fired to start. his wire-to-wire victory at Hoylake.
In stark contrast, Tiger Woods, a 15-time major winner, battled his way to a 78 that began with a double bogey in the first after making his approach, from a divot on the fairway, to the Swilcan Burn, and took six hours. and eight minutes to complete.
The 150th edition of The Open takes place from July 14-17 on the Old Course at St Andrews. So, from Thursday to Sunday this week.
What time does it start?
For the first two rounds, early starters leave at 6:35 am The final group gets underway at 4:16 pm.
What TV channel is it on?
The 150th Open will be broadcast live on Sky Sports. Alternatively, bookmark this page and follow Telegraph Sport’s live coverage of all four days.
A light rain shower greeted the early entrants as day two of the 150th Open Championship kicked off in St Andrews at 7am on Friday.
Former winner Mark Calcavecchia hit the opening shot in what will be his last appearance in the game’s oldest major championship.
The 62-year-old is beyond the 60-year-old limit for former champions but was granted a waiver due to sustaining an injury in 2021 and the Open being canceled in 2020.
Calcavecchia, who raised the Claret Jug at Troon in 1989, battled to an opening 83 and bogey in the second on Friday to remain atop the leaderboard at 12-over-par.
What happened last year?
Collin Morikawa held off a late surge from Jordan Spieth to win at Royal St George’s, with the commanding American finishing 15 under par.
Telegraph Sport golf correspondent James Corrigan described Morikawa as “unbreakable, unmatched and unbelievable” after adding the Open Championship to the US PGA title he won in 2020.
If anyone has any doubts about the class of this Californian, consider that he only turned pro in June 2019 and this was only his eighth major, with only Bobby Jones winning two faster.
What are the latest odds?
Rory McIlroy 3/10
McIlroy shot a six-under 66 in Thursday’s first round, illustrating why his length off the tee makes the Old Course a good match and underscores his consistency in 2022. The Northern Irishman is ranked first in Strokes Gained Tee to Green on the PGA Tour this season, recently won in Canada and finished in the top eight at all three majors this season. Only one Claret Jug to his name, he won at a receptive Hoylake in 2014 where The Open returns next year.
cameron smith 2/15
The 28-year-old Australian was tied for third after Thursday’s opening 67 and has proven to be an excellent end-to-end competitor since he tied for second at the Masters in 2020 when he became the first golfer in the tournament history in scoring all four rounds in the 60s (67-68-69-69). Two of his five PGA Tour titles have come this year: The Sentry Tournament of Champions in January followed by the prestigious Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in March.
Scottie Scheffler 8/1
It’s no surprise to see the World No. 1 and Masters champion so prominent after Thursday’s four-under 68. He has only made one Open appearance, but that produced a T-8 finish at the quirky Royal St George’s last year, which bodes well. No significant weaknesses when he sings. Scheffler was understandably quiet in the weeks after Augusta, but he posted second-place finishes at Colonial and the US Open at Brookline.
young cameron 8/1
Leading the clubhouse by two strokes at the end of a marathon first round with his magnificent 64, the 25-year-old New Yorker, on his Open debut, is enjoying a breakout season following his tie for third in his first Championship. of the PGA in May. He is eighth on the PGA Tour in 2022 for driving distance and his power off the tee was integral to Thursday’s march to the top of the leaderboard.
Xander Schauffele 14/1
He scored 69 on Thursday, a solid start for the man who tied for second at Carnoustie four years ago and won the Scottish Open last week. In seven years as a professional, the Californian has won seven PGA Tour titles, three of them this season, a stellar form that has accelerated his rise to No. 5 in the world rankings.