McIlroy and Harrington in the mix after day one at The Open

The pair both shot under-par rounds, the same can't be said for Shane Lowry and Paul Dunne

McIlroy and Harrington in the mix after day one at The Open

Image: Danny Lawson / PA Wire/Press Association Images

Rory McIlroy has left himself in contention after day one of The Open Championship at Royal Troon after a credible opening round 69.

The Holywood golfer got off to a fine start this morning, parring his opening three holes before picking up birdies on four, six, seven and eight.

A blistering front nine was undone after a double bogey and then a bogey on 13 and 14 left him just one under, but he finished his round with a birdie on 15 to leave him on two under for the day.

"If I had stepped on the first green and someone offered me 69 I probably would have taken it," he said after play this afternoon. "But if someone had given me that score on the tenth then I probably wouldn't have. 

"Today was the day where you had to make the most of the conditions because I don't think we're going to see the course like this for the rest for the rest of the week. I think the elements are going to be a bit of a challenge but two under par and to shoot something in the 60s is a solid start."

Rory McIlroy lines up a putt. Image: Danny Lawson / PA Wire/Press Association Images

McIlroy lamented dropping shots on what is playing as a particularly difficult back-nine.

"The more frustrating thing was that they were two of the best shots I hit all day, the drive on 13 and then the second shot.

"I bounced back with birdie on 15. It would have been nice to birdie one of the last three to give myself a couple of good chances. But a 69 is a solid start, I can't have too many complaints."

The conditions look to become more difficult tomorrow morning but McIlroy says that the elements are all part and parcel of The Open. 

"I'm hoping that some of the weather forecasts I've seen are right and that it begins to clear up a little bit in the afternoon. But it's The Open Championship, so you come here and you know you'll have to battle the elements. It's nice to not be too far out of the lead after day one, depending on what some of the guys do this afternoon.

"You're looking at something like eight or 10-under par to win this tournament."

Elsewhere this afternoon, Padraig Harrington had a mixed day on the course but finished strong to leave him on one under par.

Harrington looked to have made a strong start after birdies on four and six, but a double bogey on the eight dropped him back to level par, before a bogey just after the turn meant it looked unlikely that he would finish under par.

However, birdies on 16 and 17 left him on one under-par for his opening day.

Shane Lowry will have a lot of work to do after today's opening round, a birdie, six bogeys and double bogey left him on seven over par for his day's work.

Paul Dunne didn't exactly go much better. His disastrous back nine saw him pick up five of his total of six bogeys and a double bogey on 13 didn't help matters. He finished on six over pair and he and Lowry will have a lot of work to do if they are to make the cut tomorrow.