Damien McGrane walked away feeling shellshocked after a miserable Major debut at “silly” Royal Birkdale.

The Meath swinger, 37, crashed to a nine-over par 79 in his first competitive round at the Open - the same score as three-time Major winner Phil Mickelson.

Out in the worst of the conditions in the fourth group of the day, the Knightsbrook professional couldn’t even reach the fairway on one hole.

After hitting just four of 18 greens, he groaned: “It was extremely difficult. Some of the holes into the wind were a bit silly, but that is the way it is.

“We got the wrong end of the draw, we have to say that, but it can't be any worse than it already is.

“It is my first major, so maybe that is the crap you have to put up with every time you play a major. But I can't imagine it is like this all the time.”

McGrane went to the turn in five-over par, hitting just one green in regulation on the front nine.

He bogeyed the 10th and 11th to soar to seven over and after steadying the ship, he was frustrated to run up a double bogey six at the 429-yard 16th.

After blasting his best drive into the wind on the par-four, he still couldn’t make the 240 yard carry to the fairway and neither could his playing partners Jerry Kelly (83) or Darren Fichardt (82).

He said: “It is just the way it is. But the course has to be playable and there were a few holes out there that we just couldn't play.

“The sixth was tough but at least you can get the fairway. At the 16th, I couldn't reach the fairway with my tee shot and ended up hacking out. I hit a good drive, walked up and saw that none of us are on the fairway.

“We are all back in the 'rough. It must only have gone 220 yards with the driver. That is the way it is. Unfortunately. we just have to take it on the chin.”

McGrane birdied the par-five 17th thanks to a bunker recovery to five feet but dropped another shot at the last.

After joking in the build up that the rough was so bad there could be Zulus hiding out there, McGrane failed to spot any yesterday.

Soaked at the finish, he said: “With that weather, they would have packed up and gone home.”