McIlroy cards course record as wind stays away from St Andrews
Rory McIlroy has broken the St Andrews course record by shooting a nine-under-par round of 63 to take the first round clubhouse lead at the Open.
McIlroy’s magical 18-hole display is also the lowest first round in the history of the Open Championship and the world number nine now finds himself the 3/1 favourite to win the Claret Jug, in from 16/1 before the tournament began.
The Northern Irishman’s scorecard was littered with seven birdies and one eagle, a two at the par four ninth, with not a bogey in sight.
“We’ve had plenty of business for McIlroy all day, right the way from 16/1 down to 3/1,” said Brad Barry, Ladbrokes’ chief golf trader.
The benign conditions in the little corner of Scotland where the event is being staged has made the famous Old Course infinitely easier to play than when the typical winds are gusting.
“We needed to take advantage of the good conditions,” McIlroy said afterwards. “The course was there to be taken apart.”
Those sentiments were echoed by Tiger Woods in his post-round interview, after the world number one shot a 67 to reach the clubhouse at five under, currently good enough for a share of fifth place.
Woods is the second-favourite to win the Open at 4/1, in from 6/1 yesterday.
“Woods has been the best backed player today,” said Barry. “We took a £10,000 bet for him when he was at 6/1.”
4/1 is still an enticing price, considering Woods won on the last two occasions the Open was held at St Andrews, each time shooting a first-round score of six under.
The last man to win an Open at St Andrews that was not Woods is tied in second at the clubhouse. John Daly carded a blistering 66 that would have been even better had he not lipped a couple of birdie puts or bogeyed the 17th.
The Wild Thing won the Open in 1995 and today suggested his new moniker should be Mild Thing, in homage to his more genteel approach to golf lately. He is dramtically down from 200/1 to 25/1 to win his second Open title after a low score and high popularity with bettors.
Can any of the afternoon starters keep pace with McIlroy? Retief Goosen is two under after two holes after teeing off at 2.20pm and is currently 40/1 to win. An ever-changing leaderboard means ever-changing odds – keep up to speed by seeing the full Open Championship betting market.