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The Open: Rory McIlroy five shots back as Tommy Fleetwood shares early lead at Royal Liverpool

World No 1 Scottie Scheffler four strokes behind; Rory McIlroy five back as he chases a first major victory since 2014; Tommy Fleetwood tied with Christo Lamprecht and Emiliano Grillo; watch the second round of The Open live on Friday from 6.30am on Sky Sports Golf

England's Tommy Fleetwood smiles after completing his 1st round on the 18th green on the first day of the British Open Golf Championships at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England, Thursday, July 20, 2023. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Image: Tommy Fleetwood shares the early lead at The 151st Open

Tommy Fleetwood is part of a three-way tie for the lead after the opening round of The 151st Open, as Rory McIlroy battled back after a frustrating start to his latest bid for an elusive fifth major victory.

Fleetwood made three consecutive birdies on his way to an opening-round 66 at Royal Liverpool, seeing him move alongside South African amateur Christo Lamprecht, before Emiliano Grillo joined the pair on five under when he signed off his round with a 50-foot birdie at the last.

Brian Harman is within one of the lead and US Open champion Wyndham Clark is two off the pace, with 2017 winner Jordan Spieth in the group three behind and world No 1 Scottie Scheffler starting his week with a one-under 70.

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Jordan Spieth reflects on his opening round at The Open after he finished on two under and says he's feeling confident

McIlroy - who won The Open the last time it was held in Hoylake in 2014 and aiming to end his nine-year major drought - was seven behind with five holes of his opening round remaining, only to battle back over his closing holes to salvage a level-par 71 and stay within five of the lead.

What to watch on Sky Sports this week

The 151st Open – July 20 to 23 - LIVE on Sky Sports Golf
Fourth Men’s Ashes Test – July 19 to 23 – LIVE on Sky Sports Cricket
Premier League Summer Series – from July 23 - LIVE on Sky Sports Premier League
Hungarian Grand Prix – July 21 to 23 - LIVE on Sky Sports F1
F1 Juniors: Hungarian GP – July 23 – LIVE on Sky Sports Mix
World Matchplay Darts – July 17 to 23 – LIVE on Sky Sports Action
Women’s World Matchplay Darts – July 22 to 23 – LIVE on Sky Sports Action
IBF Lightweight Title Eliminator – July 23 – LIVE on Sky Sports Action

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Historic Thursday at Hoylake

Amateur Championship winner Lamprecht made his early move with three birdies in a four-hole stretch from the third and another at the 10th, then cancelled out a bogey at the next with back-to-back gains from the 14th to briefly go three clear.

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South African amateur Christo Lamprecht chipped in on the 14th hole for an impressive birdie during his opening round at The Open

Lamprecht bounced back from a bogey at the 16th to take advantage of the par-five last and post the second-lowest opening round by an amateur in Open history, while Fleetwood was only one under for his round until a 25-foot birdie at the 11th sparked an impressive finish.

The Englishman birdied the 14th, took advantage of the par-five next and holed another long-range effort at the 16th to move to five under, with Grillo battling back from bogeying two of his first three holes to register seven birdies and complete the trio on five under.

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A home crowd at Hoylake inspired Tommy Fleetwood to a five-under par 66 at Royal Liverpool as he carded his lowest opening round at a major tournament

Harman holed a long-range birdie on his final hole to join Antoine Rozner and Adrian Otaegui on four under, with Clark, 2009 champion Stewart Cink, Alex Noren and Max Homa all within two of the lead, while home favourite Matthew Jordan started with a two-under 69 after hitting the opening tee shot of the tournament.

Jordan Spieth, the 2017 champion, is also three back and world No 1 Scheffler birdied two of his last four holes to join reigning PGA champion Brooks Koepka four behind, as McIlroy followed his dramatic Genesis Scottish Open success on Sunday by mixing three birdies with as many bogeys in a level-par 71.

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Rory McIlroy produced a fantastic putt from 41 feet on the 14th hole to get his second birdie in during the first round of The Open

McIlroy was two over for his round until he followed a 40-foot birdie at the 14th by taking advantage of the par-five next, with the world No 2 then recovering from taking two attempts out of a greenside bunker to salvage an unlikely par at the last.

Defending champion Cameron Smith opened with a one-over 72 and world No 3 Jon Rahm struggled to a three-over 74, while two-time major champion Justin Thomas sits tied-154th in the 156-player field after signing off a 11-over 82 with a quadruple-bogey nine on the final hole.

Watch The 151st Open throughout the week exclusively live on Sky Sports. Live coverage of the second round begins on Friday from 6.30am on Sky Sports Golf. Stream The Open and more with NOW for £21 a month.

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