British Open live blog: Rory McIlroy battles back to shoot 71

Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

British Open live blog: Rory McIlroy battles back to shoot 71

PGA Tour

British Open live blog: Rory McIlroy battles back to shoot 71

The world’s oldest major golf championship gets underway Thursday at Royal Birkdale. Who will hoist the Claret Jug as winner of the 146th Open Championship? The road begins now.

We tracked the first-round highlights all day in Southport, England.

How to follow the action:

All times Eastern

  • TELEVISION: Golf Channel, 1:30 a.m.-4 p.m. ET
  • RADIO: PGA Tour Radio on SiriusXM, 2 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • ON GOLFWEEK: Tour Tracker | All coverage

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British Open tracker

UPDATE NO. 40, 4:16 p.m. ET: The round is over! Here’s your recap for the day.

UPDATE NO. 39, 3:41 p.m. ET: Another controversy with Jon Rahm looking like he’ll get a two-shot penalty before being absolved.

UPDATE NO. 38, 3 p.m. ET: So this is upsetting. Phil Mickelson shoots3-over 73 and doesn’t make a BIRDIE. Yes, no birdies. That’s a first for Lefty in the Open Championship since 1999. All in all, a 73 isn’t abysmal, but it’s a rough start for sure.

UPDATE NO. 37, 2:34 p.m. ET: ROAR-y! McIlroy buries a 15-footer for birdie at the last. He gave it a nice little fist pump, too. That’s a 1-over 71 after being +5 through six. Remarkable turnaround. From absolutely dead to six back and fine.

UPDATE NO. 36, 2:10 p.m. ET: McIlroy hits a mediocre eagle putt from 24 feet at No. 17, but he doesn’t leave himself much work. Tap-in from a foot means a birdie and he’s now +2. Dustin Johnson sees 5-foot birdie effort hit a lot of the hole but stay out. He’s +1 heading to 18.

UPDATE NO. 35, 2:04 p.m. ET: Give Rory McIlroy credit, he’s battling. The Northern Irishman has birdied Nos. 11 and 15 to fight back to 3 over. He has two to play. If he can birdie the par-5 17th and post 72, that’s quite an escape for what could’ve been a potential trainwreck of a round.

UPDATE NO. 34, 1:22 p.m. ET: Kuchar pars 18 and he is in with 65. That means three guys are 5 under in the clubhouse. That number actually may now hold up as the lead by day’s end.

UPDATE NO. 33, 1:10 p.m. ET: Rickie Fowler scrapped all day, so a 1-over 71 isn’t too bad. Still, it’s a closing bogey and Fowler is six off the lead. We’ve got 54 to go, which means Fowler is nowhere near out of this.

UPDATE NO. 32, 1:06 p.m. ET: Matt Kuchar misses a wonderful opportunity at 17 for birdie. That 8-footer hits the left lip and continues on by. A birdie would have gotten him to 6 under and solo lead. He’ll settle for 5 under and co-lead heading to 18.

UPDATE NO. 31, 12:52 p.m. ET: Charley Hoffman birdies No. 15 to move to 5 under. That ties him for the lead! Remember, he led by four after Round 1 at the Masters.

UPDATE NO. 30, 12:50 p.m. ET: Jason Day makes three bogeys but counteracts with four birdies, including a 30-footer at the last to shoot 1-under 69. A solid start, especially for a guy who’s been in a funk much of this year.

UPDATE NO. 29, 12:25 p.m. ET: What a debacle for Rory McIlroy. His issues continue. He bogeyed five of his first six holes. He’s steadied since, but four pars have him still 5 over on his round. If he’s not careful, he could be facing something in the 80s. The slump continues.

UPDATE NO. 28, 12:20 p.m. ET: Hoffman has built on that opening eagle. He’s made three birdies (against one bogey) since and is 4 under and one back through 14. It’s tough to see that 5-under number holding up as the lead by day’s end.

UPDATE NO. 27, 12:15 p.m. ET: Kuchar has cooled off a bit. Five straight pars to start his back nine. But he’s still tied for the lead. And he has two par 5s coming up. If he plays his final four holes in 3 under, that’s a 62. So still in play…

UPDATE NO. 26, 10:59 a.m. ET: Matt Kuchar has gone out in 5-under 29 after a birdie at No. 9. Oh yeah! Kuuuuuch. What a start, and he’s tied for the lead.

UPDATE NO. 25, 10:54 a.m. ET: Austin Connelly is 4 under through 15. Just one off the lead. If you don’t know about him, he’s very talented…

UPDATE NO. 24, 10:33 a.m. ET: Matt Kuchar is on fire! Birdies at Nos. 4-6 move him to 4 under. He’s since parred No. 7. Regardless, he’s just one off the lead.

UPDATE NO. 23, 10:11 a.m. ET: Charley freakin’ Hoffman. How about tarting your tournament with a hole-out from the rough for eagle?? WOW! He’s now 2 under through five.

UPDATE NO. 22, 9:58 a.m. ET: Koepka pars 18 and that means 5-under 65. That late eagle means he catches Spieth for a share of the lead.

UPDATE NO. 21, 9:36 a.m. ET: EAGLE!! Koepka holes out from the greenside bunker on 17 and that moves him to 5 under and back into a share of the lead.

UPDATE NO. 20, 9:30 a.m. ET: Spieth pars 18 and is in with 65. That 5-under number gives him a two-shot lead overall and in the clubhouse. Spieth actually missed a good birdie look at 18 for 64. What a disappointment (sarcasm).

UPDATE NO. 19, 9:23 a.m. ET: Koepka bogeys No. 16, which means Spieth is now two ahead at 5 under.

UPDATE NO. 18, 9:18 a.m. ET: Spieth birdies 17 to move to 5 under. He now solo leads again. Par at the last means 65.

UPDATE NO. 17, 8:38 a.m. ET: Spieth misses golden opportunity to move to 5 under, as he can’t get up and down for birdie at 15. Koepka meanwhile jars a long par putt at 14 to stay co-leading at 4 under.

UPDATE NO. 16, 8:26 a.m. ET: Koepka stuffs it at 13 and he’s tied again with Spieth at 4 under.

UPDATE NO. 15, 8:17 a.m. ET: Spieth buries a 20-footer at No. 14 and that birdie puts him back in the solo lead at 4 under.

UPDATE NO. 14, 8:10 a.m. ET: 1 over through six isn’t perfect, but this is quite a birdie for Andrew Johnston. BEEF!!!!!!

UPDATE NO. 13, 8:07 a.m. ET: Back-to-back Opens? Brooks Koepka rolls in a 25-footer from the fringe for birdie at No. 12 to move to 3 under. Your U.S. Open winner is now tied for the lead.

UPDATE NO. 12, 7:47 a.m. ET: Poulter finds the greenside bunker at the 18th but splashes out to 5 feet and rolls in the par putt. That’s a 3-under 67 and the clubhouse lead. He’s still co-leading, too, after Spieth pars 11 and 12.

UPDATE NO. 11, 7:39 a.m. ET: Ian Poulter birdies 17 – actually nearly holing his bunker shot for eagle – after seven straight pars. He’s back to 3 under and co-leading. Par at the last gives him 67 and outright clubhouse lead.

UPDATE NO. 10, 7:21 a.m. ET: Spieth hits a great tee shot and an awful second well left at No. 10. But his recovery is incredible, as he knocks his brutal pitch to a foot. Fantastic par. Can’t tell you how good that recovery was, you need to watch this video to get it.

UPDATE NO. 9, 7:13 a.m. ET: Spieth birdies No. 9 to move to 3 under. That’s the solo lead for him as he’s out in 3-under 31.

UPDATE NO. 8, 6:41 a.m. ET: Jordan Spieth. Tied for the lead. Spieth has found just 2/6 fairways, but he’s missed in good spots as he’s 7/8 in GIR. Spieth is 2 under after getting aggressive at No. 8 with a driver and stuffing a short approach to about 5 feet and draining the birdie putt. Looking good, Jordan…

UPDATE NO. 7, 6:30 a.m. ET: Jordan Spieth was a popular choice this week. So far, so good. He’s only hit 2 of 5 fairways so far, but he’s made a birdie and six pars. That puts him 1 back as he finishes his front nine.

UPDATE NO. 6, 6:27 a.m. ET: Matt Fitzpatrick made a long putt for birdie at No. 14 to move to 1 under. He’s got two par 5s coming up. Quite a good chance for him to post a new clubhouse lead.

UPDATE NO. 5, 6:17 a.m. ET: We’ve got a clubhouse leader! Stuart Manley, an Open rookie, posts a 2-under 68. That’s actually the clubhouse lead by three (Chris Wood, 71). Manley finishes eagle-birdie to post at that number. What a finish!

We’ll see if that clubhouse lead holds up, but we doubt it. Some info on Stuart Manley: He won on the Challenge Tour in 2013 and has found himself on the European Tour most of the last few years. He has two runners-up on the Euro Tour and got in here via the Open Qualifying Series by one of those – a T-2 at the Joburg Open. But this is out of nowhere. He’s No. 520 in the world and missed his last six cuts and nine of his last 10. That’s golf!

UPDATE NO. 4, 6:10 a.m. ET: Henrik Stenson is proving why he won this tournament last year. The reigning Champion Golfer of the Year birdies No. 5 to move to 1 under and he’s just one back. Rose gets a bad bounce on No. 5 as his approach hits a downslope and rolls into a bunker. He makes par anyway. Still co-leading.

UPDATE NO. 3, 6:01 a.m. ET: Justin Rose, ladies and gentleman! Birdies at Nos. 1 and 3 move him to 2 under and in a tie for the lead! Remember he memorably finished T-4 here as a 17-year-old amateur in 1998. There’s even a Lego re-creation of that happening!

UPDATE NO. 2, 5:33 a.m. ET: Leading early at The Open … Ian Poulter, who is 2 under at the turn. Poulter was T-2 here in 2008.

UPDATE NO. 1, 2:45 a.m. ET: Fore! The first shot of the 146th Open goes out of bounds off the driver of Mark O’Meara.

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