McIlroy makes abysmal start at The Open

Updated: 

Rory McIlroy made a horrendous start to his opening round at Royal Birkdale as he carded five bogeys in the first six holes.

The 2014 Open champion's hopes of reclaiming the Claret Jug appear remote as he fell 10 shots off the early pace in Thursday's first round.

Having missed the cut at last month's U.S. Open, McIlroy's form has been patchy at best and he struggled to find his groove in Southport. 

At his media conference ahead of the tournament the Northern Irishman suggested it was a "good time to back me" after being told his odds had drifted to 20-1.

But the four-time major winner is now facing a huge task just to stay in the tournament until the weekend.

What could give the 28-year-old some hope is the number of birdie opportunities that others have seized upon on the back nine.

And the 17th has seen a host of eagles, so McIlroy still has a chance of gaining back a few strokes.

Jordan Spieth and Brooks Koepka each scored 65s to sit as joint clubhouse leaders, while fellow American Matt Kuchar was also five under through 11.