Three-way lead after first round of The Open at Birkdale

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It was an action-packed first round of The Open at Royal Birkdale on Thursday with Rory McIlroy creating the most buzz, despite nowhere near the top of the leaderboard.

There’s a three-way lead at the summit with Jordan SpiethBrooks Koepka and Matt Kuchar all on -5.

McIlroy, though, began his opening round in disastrous fashion, five over par after six holes.

A stern talking-to by his caddy seemed to kick the Ulsterman into gear as he hit four birdies on the back nine to remain in contention at +2.

Spieth remains favourite, though, at 17/5 with Kuchar 13/2 and Koepka a 15/2 shot.

The American will be popular considering how surgically conservative he plays the game, but Kuchar has Major-winning experience so can’t be discounted.

Elsewhere Charl Schwartzel is kicking around a -4 with England’s Ian Poulter wedged nicely within the chasing pack at -3.

McIlroy has a lot of work to do today to get back up the leaderboard but if the weather becomes a factor, that may well have a huge bearing in deciding how this round goes.

You can get the Irishman at 14/1 with three rounds to go – possibly too big to turn down.

Click here for the latest Open Championship betting.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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Cian Carroll

Starting life as a football columnist for his local paper in Dundalk, Cian has written for a number of media outlets with pieces published in The Birmingham Mail and Spain’s El Mundo Deportivo. A lover of football, GAA, boxing, rugby and MMA, he’s a big Aston Villa and Dundalk fan. He can be regularly spotted on various mountain tops.