Rory McIlroy rescued his round after a horror opening nine at The Open 2017. The latest from Royal Birkdale in Southport.

McIlroy Recovers After Nightmare Start At The Open 2017

Rory McIlroy reached the turn in his joint-worst ever score of 39, but made a strong recovery on the back nine to post a one-over-par 71.

The Ulsterman, playing alongside Dustin Johnson and Charl Schwartzel, opened with a bogey and cut a dejected figure as the dropped shots continued to mount, with four coming in the space of as many holes from the 3rd.

Rory McIlroy Struggles At The Open 2017

The Open 2017: Rory struggled on the front nine [Getty Images]

McIlroy was optimistic yesterday when he spoke of his game being in better shape than his scores reflected, but it wasn’t until the back nine that he showed his best form.

On more than one occasion, the 28-year-old looked to be struggling with the technical side of his game as he rehearsed his swing time and again.

But the world number four kept his hopes of a fifth Major alive when he came to life with a birdie on the 11th, which he followed up with further gains on 15 and 17, before a classy approach to the final hole set up another birdie putt.

Rory McIlroy Struggles At The Open 2017

The Open 2017: McIlroy rallies on the back nine

McIlroy has missed his last three cuts, including poor showings at both the Irish Open and Scottish Open.

“My game is all there and it’s just about staying as positive as I possibly can,” said McIlroy yesterday. “I don’t know if I’ll find something this week, I’ll be able to tell you better when I’m in the tournament and how I’m feeling out there. But I’m as positive as I can be, I guess, and we’ll see how that goes.

“I wish I was here being the number one player in the world with a couple more Majors and whatever, and I’m in a place where I’m trying to figure out how I get back to that position where I was this time two and a half, three years ago.

“But I’m working on it. I’m trying to get back there and I’m doing everything I can. And hopefully the start of that crest of a wave happens this week.”