Sport Golf

Thursday 18 October 2018

Rory McIlroy vows to keep playing aggressively as he tries to reel in Open Championship leader Kevin Kisner

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy during day one of The Open Championship
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy during day one of The Open Championship

Phil Casey

American Kevin Kisner took the first step towards joining his housemates as a major champion as Rory McIlroy made an encouraging start to the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Kisner, who led by a shot after 54 holes of last year's US PGA before finishing seventh, carded a five-under-par 66 to secure a one-shot lead over compatriot Tony Finau and the South African pair of Erik van Rooyen and Zander Lombard.

McIlroy, who is seeking a first major title since 2014, was part of a large group on two under par which also included Spain's Jon Rahm, world number two Justin Thomas, 2015 winner Zach Johnson and the English pair of Danny Willett and Matthew Southgate.

Tiger Woods had arrived at the course with Kinesio Tape visible on the back of his neck, a worrying sign given the 42-year-old's litany of injury problems in recent seasons.

But although the 14-time major winner visibly winced after hitting his opening tee shot, that appeared to be the result of getting some dust from the dry ground in his eye and he went on to make an ideal start with a birdie from 10 feet.

Woods, who has not won a major since the 2008 US Open, also birdied the fourth and followed a bogey on the 10th with another birdie from 35 feet on the next, but dropped shots on the 13th and 15th and had to settle for a level-par 71.

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