Rory McIlroy off to Horrific Start at Irish Open; Shoots 80

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It couldn’t get any worse for Rory McIlroy Thursday. The world No. 1 suffered a nightmare first round at the Irish Open as he shot his highest total since his final-day Masters meltdown in 2011.

McIlroy reached the turn at 41 and finished with a nine-over 80, leaving him dead last of the morning’s 78 starters. McIlroy is now in danger of missing the cut at his home event for the third successive year.

“It was not quite as difficult as I made it look,” said McIlroy. “It’s disappointing because I want to go out there and play well, not just for myself but for a lot of other people.

“My goal will be to make some birdies, make my first birdie of the tournament at some point. I’ll just have to pick myself up and go out there tomorrow and shoot a good one.”

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McIlroy bogeyed half his holes and made pars on the other nine. McIlroy had to make an 8-footer at the last hole to save par and shoot 80. This is the second consecutive awful round from McIlroy, who shot 78 in Round 2 of last week’s BMW PGA Championship to miss the cut. His two-round total of 158 to straddle the two events is McIlroy’s highest since shooting 80-78 to miss the cut as a 16-year-old in the 2005 British Masters.

“I want to give them something to cheer about and not just get sympathy claps as I got coming off the ninth green,” added McIlroy.

“I felt like I put myself in good positions off the tee but I was caught between trying to play two ways. I was hitting it well on the range, keeping it down and hitting half shots, but the wind was not up that much on the course and that led to missing greens, which led to lots of eight to 12-foot putts for par, which led to missing all of them.”