Gunslinging McIlroy and Woods steal Hoylake show

Thu Jul 17, 2014 3:30pm EDT
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By Tony Jimenez

HOYLAKE England (Reuters) - Golfing gunslingers Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods sprayed Royal Liverpool with a barrage of birdie bullets to steal the show in a thrilling opening round of the 143rd British Open on Thursday.

Northern Irishman McIlroy has developed a penchant for making fast starts and he did it yet again on a blisteringly hot day at the third major championship of the season, firing a pacesetting six-under-par 66.

Matteo Manassero was in second place on 67, one ahead of fellow Italians Francesco and Edoardo Molinari. Also on 68 were American pair Brooks Koepka and Jim Furyk as well as Spain's Sergio Garcia and world number one Adam Scott.

Woods, playing in only his third competitive round since undergoing back surgery in March, confounded the critics who wrote off his chances by shooting a 69.

The 14-times major winner made a poor start by bogeying the first two holes but it was almost vintage Tiger on the back nine as he went storming through the field with five birdies in six holes from the 11th.

The former world number one, sporting grey slacks and a white shirt with blue/grey flecks down the front, got his round going when he holed out from off the green at the 11th.

Woods then rattled in birdies at the 12th and 13th before dropping a stroke at the 14th following a hook off the tee into thick rough.

The 38-year-old American bounced straight back by sinking a 12-footer at the next hole. A delicate chip to 12 inches from the cup at the 16th gave him another birdie before a long-range effort lipped out on 17.   Continued...

Tiger Woods of the U.S. watches his second shot on the 17th hole during the first round of the British Open Championship at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, northern England July 17, 2014.REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton