McIlroy hopping mad after lapse

By Brian Keogh

Rory McIlroy was hopping mad after a sloppy back nine cost him the first round lead in the AIB Irish Amateur Open.

The Holywood ace, 18, scorched to four under par after just six holes at links gem Royal Dublin.

But with wind and rain lashing the course, the European Amateur champion dropped five shots in a six-hole spell on the way home to card a one over par 73.

That left him two shots adrift of the Czech student Marek Novy, 22, who fired an amazing one under par 71 in the worst of the afternoon weather.

Walker Cup hopefuls Lloyd Saltman and Keir McNicoll of Scotland, Welshman Rhys Enoch and Finn Joonas Granberg share second place after level par 72s.

McIlroy said: "I played the front nine in four under when it was nice and calm. But on the back nine it got a little tougher and I lost my momentum.

"I hitting a couple of loose shots and I paid the price for them but overall 73 is a pretty good score."

McIlroy stitched a sand wedge at the first and then rifled a seven-iron to 15 feet to set up an eagle at the second.

A 70 yard bunker shot to eight feet helped him birdie the par-five sixth and put him top of the leaderboard.

But everything changed on the back nine as wind and rain made scoring tough for the elite 120-man field.

A bogey at the par five 11th, where he took four to get down from just short of the green, enraged McIlroy.

The Holywood kid smashed a club into his golf bag and then dropped three shots in the next two holes.

A missed green at the par three 12th led to another bogey before two more shots went at the 13th after he pulled his drive into a drain.

A bogey at the 16th ended his agony but he knows he is still well in the hunt to make amends for his play-off defeat to Finn Antti Ahokas in this championship last year.

McIlroy added: "I haven't played myself out of it. There are a lot of high scores and I'll probably be in the top five at the end of the day.

"It's been an okay first day but hopefully I can improve on it tomorrow. It's just a normal links course. I think if it was calm you could rip it up."

Leader Novy, who hails from the Czech beer capital of Pilsen, was delighted with a round that featured three birdies and two bogeys.

Playing in just his third links event, he beamed: "I'll have beer tonight. Maybe a Guinness, just to help me sleep!"

First round

71 M Novy (Czech Republic)
72 R Enoch (Wales), J Granberg (Finland), L Saltman (Scotland), K McNicoll (Scotland)
73 R Zwahlen (France), K McAlpine (Scotland), J Morris (Rosslare), R Ramsay (Scotland), R McIlroy (Holywood)
74 L Lennox (Moyola Park), R McCarthy (The Island), N Edwards (Wales), P Figueiredo (Portugal), R Bechu (France), R Kilpatrick (Banbridge), J Caldwell (Clandeboye),
B Walton (The Island/UCD), P O'Hara (Scotland), C Geraghty (England), S McAllister (Scotland), G Campbell (Scotland), C Doran (Banbridge)
75 N Grant (Knock), P Cutler (Portstewart), K Le Sager (France), R Thuillier (France), B Fotheringham (Scotland), P Murray (Limerick), R McKnight (Scotland)
76 C Macaulay (Scotland), S Henry (Scotland), G Cambis (France), Z Gould (Wales), B Evans (England), X Poncelet (France), E Richardson (England), Z Saltman (Scotland), M Veijalainen (Finland), B Grace (South Africa), L Allen (England), A McCloy (Ballymena)
77 R Thomas (Wales), A Hogan (Newlands/UCD), D Leathem (Lisburn), A Rosado (Portugal), R Cannon (L'town & B'town), J Carvill (Warrenpoint), J Savolampi (Finland), A Ross (Canada), G Lawlor (Citywest), J McGinn (Laytown & Bettystown), M Gaynor (U.S.A.), P McLean (Scotland), N Kearney (Royal Dublin), B Westgate (England)
78 G O'Neill (Jersey), E O'Sullivan (The Island), M Armitage (England), A Runcie (Wales), M Sinclair (Knock), R McNamara (Headfort), T Ortner (Austria), S Ward (Co Louth), D Lernihan (Castle/UCD), J Lyons (Galway)
79 B Norton (U.S.A.), S McEwan (Scotland), S Doherty (Malone), J Smedley (England), E McAnoy (Knock), J Pernaa (Finland), S Lowry (UCD/Esker Hills), J Guillet (France), M Thistleton (England), D Morgan (Mullingar), W Rieder (Austria)
80 C Cousins (Wales), S Kindsted (Finland), N Henriques (Portugal), B Jones (England), J Haglund (Finland), M McCoy (U.S.A.), E O'Connell (The Fox Club), L Matthews (Wales), R Kellett (Scotland), C Vance (England)
81 M O'Sullivan (Stow Acres), R Leonard (Banbridge), S Archibald (England), T Sistonen (Finland), G Carew (Edenderry), E Mercadier (France), M Barbosa (U.S.A.), J Dale (England), T Halpen (Canada)
82 S O'Brien (U.S.A.), M Salminen (Finland), S Grant (Birr), P Nelson (South Africa), P O'Hanlon (Curragh)
83 N Catesson (France), J Vickery (Wales), E Saxel (England), N Kirchner (Austria), C Mivis (Belgium)
84 K Hammer (U.S.A.), R Boal (Scrabo)
85 A Gabella Wenne (Sweden), B Kosmin (France)
86 C Scotto (France), A Fadel (U.S.A.), W McCully (Donaghadee)
87 T Wyatt (U.S.A.)
88 T McGowan (Strandhill), N Tyry (Finland)
89 J Shufflebotham (Wales), R Merchant (Wales)
90 C Levitte (France)
93 R Maunder (England)