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Rory, Tiger deliver at Open
British Open Golf Heal WEB
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland holds up his ball after putting on the 13th green during the first day of the British Open Golf championship at the Royal Liverpool golf club, Hoylake, England, Thursday July 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison) - photo by Associated Press

Thursday
At Royal Liverpool Golf Club
First Round

(a-amateur)
Rory McIlroy        32-34—66    -6
Matteo Manassero    34-33—67    -5
Brooks Koepka    33-35—68    -4
Edoardo Molinari    33-35—68    -4
Francesco Molinari    34-34—68    -4
Jim Furyk        33-35—68    -4
Sergio Garcia        32-36—68    -4
Adam Scott        31-37—68    -4
Shane Lowry        36-32—68    -4
Robert Karlsson    36-33—69    -3
Marc Leishman    33-36—69    -3
Koumei Oda        36-33—69    -3
Rickie Fowler        32-37—69    -3
Tiger Woods        36-33—69    -3
Hideki Matsuyama    32-37—69    -3
Jimmy Walker        34-35—69    -3
Yoshinobu Tsukada    34-35—69    -3
Boo Weekley        32-37—69    -3
Freddie Jacobson    35-35—70    -2
a-Ashley Chesters    36-34—70    -2
Ryan Moore        33-37—70    -2
Mikko Ilonen        34-36—70    -2
Thomas Bjorn        34-36—70    -2
Louis Oosthuizen    33-37—70    -2
Stephen Gallacher    33-37—70    -2
David Hearn        33-37—70    -2
Kristoffer Broberg    34-36—70    -2
Hiroshi Iwata        36-34—70    -2
George Coetzee    35-35—70    -2
Bill Haas        36-34—70    -2
Jason Dufner        33-37—70    -2
Rafael Cabrera-Bello    36-34—70    -2
Dawie Van Der Walt    33-38—71    -1
Matt Jones        38-33—71    -1
Erik Compton        35-36—71    -1
Ben Martin        35-36—71    -1
Branden Grace    34-37—71    -1
Stewart Cink        35-36—71    -1
Charl Schwartzel    36-35—71    -1
Jordan Spieth        35-36—71    -1
Dustin Johnson    34-37—71    -1
Hunter Mahan        37-34—71    -1
Marc Warren        33-38—71    -1
Graham DeLaet    33-38—71    -1
Chris Kirk        35-36—71    -1
Zach Johnson        33-38—71    -1
Lee Westwood    34-37—71    -1
John Senden        35-36—71    -1
David Howell        35-37—72    E
Bernd Wiesberger    37-35—72    E
Kim Hyung-sung    36-36—72    E
Kiradech Aphibarnrat    37-35—72    E
Darren Clarke        38-34—72    E
Harris English        35-37—72    E
Henrik Stenson    35-37—72    E
K.J. Choi        34-38—72    E
Rhein Gibson        38-34—72    E
Brian Harman        36-36—72    E
Nick Watney        39-33—72    E
Kevin Streelman    34-38—72    E
Thongchai Jaidee    36-36—72    E
Yusaku Miyazato    35-37—72    E
Justin Rose        34-38—72    E
Oliver Fisher        34-38—72    E
An Byeong-hun    36-36—72    E
David Duval        37-36—73    +1
Tom Watson        37-36—73    +1
Luke Donald        35-38—73    +1
Ian Poulter        39-34—73    +1
Matt Kuchar        37-36—73    +1
Oscar Floren        36-37—73    +1
Jamie McLeary    35-38—73    +1
Shawn Stefani    34-39—73    +1
Brendon Todd        33-40—73    +1
Kevin Stadler        37-36—73    +1
Martin Kaymer    36-37—73    +1
Jason Day        35-38—73    +1
Billy Horschel        38-35—73    +1
Keegan Bradley    35-38—73    +1
Richard Sterne    36-37—73    +1
Rhys Enoch        36-37—73    +1
Billy Hurley III        37-36—73    +1
Chris Rodgers        36-37—73    +1
Cameron Tringale    37-37—74    +2
Justin Leonard    36-38—74    +2
Ben Curtis        35-39—74    +2
Paul Casey        36-38—74    +2
Padraig Harrington    36-38—74    +2
Graeme McDowell    34-40—74    +2
Victor Dubuisson    36-38—74    +2
Ryan Palmer        35-39—74    +2
Roberto Castro    35-39—74    +2
Victor Rui        38-36—74    +2
Brendan Steele    40-34—74    +2
Charley Hoffman    34-40—74    +2
Brandt Snedeker    36-38—74    +2
a-Pan Cheng-tsung    38-36—74    +2
Danny Willett        38-36—74    +2
J.B. Holmes        34-40—74    +2
Phil Mickelson    35-39—74    +2
Gonzalo Ferndez-Castano    35-39—74    +2
Ryo Ishiskawa    36-38—74    +2
Tommy Fleetwood    36-38—74    +2
Ross Fisher        37-37—74    +2
Chris Wood        35-40—75    +3
Anirban Lahiri        37-38—75    +3
Thorbjorn Olesen    36-39—75    +3
Matt Every        39-36—75    +3
Brett Rumford        36-39—75    +3
Kim Hyung-tae    38-37—75    +3
Tyrrell Hatton        38-37—75    +3
D.A. Points        37-38—75    +3
Y.E. Yang        36-39—75    +3
Scott Stallings    39-36—75    +3
Pablo Larrazabal    38-37—75    +3
Michael Hoey        35-40—75    +3
Gary Woodland    37-38—75    +3
Wu Ashun        36-39—75    +3
Jonas Blixt        36-39—75    +3
Miguel Angel Jimenez    35-40—75    +3
Russell Henley    33-42—75    +3
a-Paul Dunne        36-39—75    +3
Gregory Bourdy    39-36—75    +3
Angel Cabrera        39-37—76    +4
Nick Faldo        36-40—76    +4
Tomohiro Kondo    36-40—76    +4
Paul McKechnie    37-39—76    +4
Juvic Pagunsan    38-38—76    +4
Webb Simpson    36-40—76    +4
Bubba Watson    34-42—76    +4
Kevin Na        38-38—76    +4
George McNeill    37-39—76    +4
Matthew Baldwin    35-41—76    +4
Todd Hamilton    37-40—77    +5
Peter Uihlein        41-36—77    +5
John Daly        38-39—77    +5
Jeong Jin        38-39—77    +5
Justin Walters        37-40—77    +5
Scott Jamieson    36-41—77    +5
Masanori Kobayashi    39-39—78    +6
Patrick Reed        35-43—78    +6
John Singleton    36-42—78    +6
Jang Dong-kyu    35-43—78    +6
Brendon De Jonge    38-40—78    +6
Paul Lawrie        38-41—79    +7
a-Bradley Neil        41-38—79    +7
Jamie Donaldson    39-40—79    +7
Ernie Els        42-37—79    +7
Mark Wiebe        37-42—79    +7
Chesson Hadley    39-40—79    +7
Chris Stroud        38-41—79    +7
Matthew Southgate    36-44—80    +8
Christopher Hanson    40-41—81    +9
Joost Luiten        41-40—81    +9
Sandy Lyle        38-44—82   +10
Bryden Macpherson    41-49—90   +18

    HOYLAKE, England — Rory McIlroy had everything go his way Thursday in the British Open.
    A lovely summer day in England with abundant sunshine and minimal wind allowed him to attack Royal Liverpool. He made half his six birdies on the par 5s and kept bogeys off his card. And on the day Tiger Woods made a promising return, McIlroy took the lead with a 6-under 66, his best score in nearly two years at a major.
    Now if he can only find a way to get to the weekend.
    McIlroy either set himself up for a good run at the claret jug or another dose of Friday failures. In what already has been an unusual year for golf, no trend is more mysterious than Boy Wonder going from awesome to awful overnight.
    Six times in his last eight tournaments, he has had a nine-hole score of 40 or higher on Friday that has taken him out of the mix.
    "It's not like I've shot good scores in first rounds and haven't backed them up before," McIlroy said.
"I'm used to doing that. I just haven't done it recently. We'll see what tomorrow brings and what weather it is and try and handle it as best I can.

"Hopefully," he said, "it's just one of those things and I'm able to turn it around tomorrow."

Woods also would like to keep moving in the right direction. He got off to a troubling start with two quick bogeys, nearly made another one on the fourth hole, and then looked like a 14-time major champion when he ran off five birdies in six holes toward the end of his round for a 69.

Not bad for guy who had back surgery March 31, who started taking full swings only a month ago and who had not played in a major in 11 months.

"It felt good to be back out there competing again," Woods said.

Such pristine weather — how long it lasts is the big unknown — gave just about everyone a chance to score. Matteo Manassero broke par in The Open for the first time since he was a 16-year-old amateur. He began his round by hitting into a pot bunker, blasting out to the fairway and holing out from 160 yards for birdie. He made five birdies on the back nine, three on the par 5s.

That made him low Italian — barely.

Francesco Molinari and Edoardo Molinari have games that are nothing alike, though they shot the same score. They were in a large group at 68 along with Jim Furyk, Sergio Garcia, Brooks Koepka, Shane Lowry and Adam Scott.

Scott stands out as the No. 1 player in the world, and because he was the only player in the top 10 who played in the afternoon when the wind made Hoylake tougher. Scott went out in 31 and was slowed only by two bogeys on the back nine.

Even in tame conditions, the British Open can mete out punishment — to players, to spectators and even a golf club.

Phil Mickelson was trying to get back to even par when he hooked his approach to the 18th beyond the out-of-bounds stakes down the right side of the hole and had to scramble for a bogey and a 74. He hasn't broken par at a major since winning at Muirfield last summer.

That still doesn't top the bad day of Ernie Els. His opening tee shot hit a spectator in the face, and the sight of so much blood shook the Big Easy. When he got to the green, he missed a 1-foot putt, and then carelessly tried to back-hand the next one into the hole and missed that one. The triple bogey sent him to a 79.

Henrik Stenson knocked a 30-foot birdie putt off the 12th green and made double bogey, and then took two hacks out of the shin-high grass left of the 17th fairway. Walking to his next shot, he snapped his gap wedge over his thigh like a baseball player — Bo Jackson comes to mind — who had just struck out with the bases loaded.

Through all this activity, two names came to the forefront — McIlroy and Woods, both trying to restore their games from different circumstances.

McIlroy's only victory this year was at the BMW PGA Championship, where he started his week by breaking off his engagement with Caroline Wozniacki. He could have had more chances to win except for that 40 on the front nine at Quail Hollow, the 42 on the front nine at The Players Championship and the 43 on the back nine at the Memorial.

He met with Jack Nicklaus, and the topic of his freaky Fridays came up.

"I didn't mention it to him," McIlroy said. "He mentioned it to me — 'How the hell can you shoot 63 and then 78?' No, I think what we talked about was just holding a round together. And he was never afraid to make a change in the middle of the round ... to get it back on track."

The trick for McIlroy is to not get derailed in the second round. For the year, he is 55-under par in the first round and 15-over par in the second round.

Woods gave a light fist pump when he rolled in a 30-foot putt from just off the green on No. 11. He then hit a beautiful approach to 6 feet for birdie on the 12th. That put him under par in a tournament for the first time since March 9, the final round of Doral. OK, the sample size is small — that was the last tournament he played until returning to Congressional three weeks ago after back surgery.

Even so, he was playing with such rhythm late in his round that he might have wanted to keep going. That makes Friday a big day for Woods, too.