Perfect start for McIlroy

Rory McIlroy started his final round with a birdie

Rory McIlroy started his final round with a birdie

First published in National Sport © by

Rory McIlroy's bid to win the Open Championship got off to the perfect start on Sunday at Royal Liverpool.

The Northern Irishman, bidding to secure the third leg of a career grand slam having already won the US Open and US PGA, began with a six-stroke lead over American Rickie Fowler.

However, a 20-foot birdie putt at the opening hole - combined with Fowler missing a 12-footer - allowed McIlroy to move further ahead.

Sergio Garcia, playing in the group ahead, also birdied the first hole from 13ft to join Fowler on 10 under but the leader was still well out of his reach.

Fowler birdied the second after hitting his approach to eight feet to cut the lead to six again and he was joined by Garcia on 11 under after the Spaniard holed a a 20-footer on the third.

Sweden's Robert Karlsson made a significant move up the leaderboard after two birdies in his first four holes were followed by an eagle three at the long fifth after a brilliant approach to four feet to get to 10 under.

McIlroy dropped his first shot when he twice went into the right rough on five, chipped across and off the green and could not get up and down for his par.

Fowler could have increased the pressure but missed his seven-foot birdie attempt.

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