IT came as little of a surprise that the most exciting and eventful round of day one at The Open came from Rory McIlroy.
He was well poised today for his second major after an opening 67, which included a double-bogey on the 15th – a wayward tee-shot went wide right and struck a young spectator on the head, the ball shooting out of bounds.
A contrite McIlroy apologised to the fan, who said he was OK and the Northern Ireland golfer signed a glove for the wounded, dazed spectator.
Despite that setback McIlroy held it together, finishing with a spectacular flourish– birdie, par, birdie.
Speaking of the spectator incident, McIlroy said: “I am sorry for what happened. It has happened to me before, but I never like to see it and it’s not nice.
“The most important thing was that he was OK because I would have felt terrible if it had have been worse than it was.
“I thought I did well to keep my composure, keep my concentration and finish the way I did. I’m very pleased with that.”
Reflecting on his round, McIlroy said: “It was great. I felt like I didn’t miss many fairways or many greens.
“I felt like it was pretty much under control. I missed a couple of shots but you’re not going to hit every shot well out there.”
McIlroy reckons he will have to mix it with the elite and beat them over the next three days if he is to lift the Claret Jug.
He added: “It is a very fair test and on a course like this I think the cream will rise to the top. You are seeing it on the leaderboard already.
“It’s tough here, because if someone goes in the rough it’s not as simple as just hitting it back out. You’re talking unplayable and it’s tough.”