• McIlroy, Stenson pleased with Open starts

    Rory McIlroy
    Fairways bunkers proved to be nasty

    Former winners Henrik Stenson and Rory McIlroy were pleased with their starts after both compiled an under-par score on day one of the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie.

    McIlroy shot a two-under 69, while Stenson overcame an elbow problem that forced him to miss last week’s Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open to card a one-under-par 70.

    The 42-year-old Swede, who lifted the Claret Jug at Troon two years ago, said: ‘I’m happy with the score. I’m happy with a fighting performance.

    ‘I feel like I’m behind on practice and playing and preparation. We’re just trying to do the best with what we have and what we can do, and we’ll see where it takes us.

    ‘The elbow is okay. It’s not 100% but it’s good enough to play, obviously. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be here this week.’

    McIlroy, the 2014 champion at Royal Liverpool, hit just four out of 15 fairways from the tee and missed some short putts but he picked up three birdies and dropped just one shot.

    ‘I didn’t see the fairway much but it’s very playable from not in the fairway,’ said McIlroy.

    ‘As long as you don’t hit it in the fairway bunkers, you’re always going to have a shot at the green.┬áThat’s why I tried to stay as aggressive as I possibly could even though I wasn’t hitting the driver maybe as well as I could.

    ‘It wasn’t pretty off the tee but I got it done and I took advantage of some unfortunate bounces. I would have taken 69 to start the day.’

    Credit: European Tour

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