October 2, 2014 / 4:53 PM / 3 years ago

McIlroy falls back to earth after Ryder Cup heroics

(Reuters) - Rory McIlroy suffered a Ryder Cup hangover as he struggled to an opening round of 73 in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Thursday.

European Ryder Cup player Rory McIlroy celebrates as he wins 5&4 on the 14th green against U.S. Ryder Cup player Rickie Fowler during the 40th Ryder Cup singles matches at Gleneagles in Scotland September 28, 2014. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh

The world number one, who helped Europe ease to victory over the United States last weekend, made one birdie and two bogeys at Carnoustie, one of the three Scottish courses hosting the tournament.

Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher, who lost both his matches at the Ryder Cup, found his form with a four-under-par 68, four shots behind leader Oliver Wilson of England.

Victorious Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley had to settle for a 72 on his return to action after masterminding the win over the United States at Gleneagles.

Frenchman Victor Dubuisson, who contributed 2 1/2 points to Europe’s victory as a rookie, opened with a 71, three shots better than another struggling Ryder Cup team mate, Martin Kaymer of Germany.

Former British Open champion Padraig Harrington carded a 66 to climb to joint third place on the leaderboard, level with fellow Irishman Shane Lowry, one stroke behind Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin and two adrift of Wilson.

The other two courses hosting the tournament are St Andrews and Kingsbarns.

Reporting by Ed Osmond; editing by Justin Palmer

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