The Irishman shot four under on Thursday morning at Portrush

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Lowry Leads Home Open Hopes At Royal Portrush

Shane Lowry took the early clubhouse lead on day one at the Open Championship after a four under par 67 at Royal Portrush.

The Irishman made five birdies and a solitary bogey to give the home fans hope of an Irish Champion Golfer of the Year.

It is Lowry’s best ever first round in a Major and will leave him very near the top of the leaderboard come the end of the day.

“It’s my best [opening] round [in a Major] by about 8 shots. That was nice,” he said.

“It was nice to shoot a good score and hopefully I can go out and keep at it the next few days.

“I felt very unconfident on the first tee, I’m not going to lie.

“I was very happy it was downwind with only a 3-iron.

“I hit a good tee shot and from there on I was off and running, and hit some good shots from there and made some good decisions.”

Lowry was T9th at Royal Liverpool in 2014 in what was his best Open finish.

His best Major finish came at Oakmont at the 2016 US Open where he was T2nd to Dustin Johnson.

One home player who didn’t start as well as Shane Lowry was Northern Ireland’s own Rory McIlroy who made a quadruple-bogey 8 on the 1st after hooking his tee shot out of bounds.

McIlroy then had to take a drop near the green and eventually missed from around 6ft for his triple.

“I feel for him, to be honest,” Shane Lowry said of Rory McIlroy’s nightmare start.

“What can you say? I don’t know what the score is now. But obviously he’s one of the best golfers in the world.

“He’ll be alright.”

Rory made two birdies to turn in +3 after playing his first three holes in five over.

The four-time Major winner dropped to +5 though after a four putt on the par-3 16th, aptly named Calamity.

Portrush’s own Graeme McDowell fared better but had a very disappointing finish to his round.

G-Mac was three under after 14 holes and bogey-free before dropping shots at 15 and 17.

He then lost his tee shot on the 18th hole and ended up making a triple-bogey 7 to sign for a two over par 73.

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