The Open 2019: Rory McIlroy ‘hasn’t had enough credit’ for his recovery from horror start, says Claret Jug contender Tommy Fleetwood

Rory McIlroy ‘hadn’t had the credit he deserves’ for recovering from his nightmare start to The Open, Claret Jug contender Tommy Fleetwood has told talkSPORT.

The Northern Irishman teed off his home tournament at Royal Portrush with a quadruple bogey on the opening par four – dubbed a ‘snowman’ – which immediately left him in a bit of a pickle.

Rory McIlroy has the start to forget at his home Open Championships at Royal Portrush

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Rory McIlroy has the start to forget at his home Open Championships at Royal Portrush

He hit just two birdies as he carded a first-round score of 79 – the sixth-worst score of the opening day.

McIlroy was back out on the course, which has been hit with typical Northern Irish links conditions, on Friday afternoon and faces a fight to make the cut.

He began his second round eight-over par, with the projected cut set at one-over.

But Fleetwood, who went into the clubhouse on seven-under after round two – tied third at the time of writing, has praised Rory for his recovery after a horror start.

The Englishman told talkSPORT’s Georgie Bingham and Bob Bubka on Hawksbee and Jacobs: “It’s hard for us to have any say or opinion on it.

“He clearly had a rough day.

McIlroy hit a wayward drive off the first tee which went out-of-bounds, and his re-take wasn’t much better

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McIlroy hit a wayward drive off the first tee which went out-of-bounds, and his re-take wasn’t much better

“The hard part is that whenever Rory doesn’t do something great it’s in front of everybody and this week he’s got the added expectation of being a home Open.

“But it’s Rory McIlroy, who knows what he could do today. He could shoot a really low one, we just don’t know.

“I didn’t really know what he shot yesterday but I know he started off bad and then came back really well.

Fleetwood has fared better and is in a good position to challenge for the Claret Jug ahead of an exciting weekend of golf

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Fleetwood has fared better and is in a good position to challenge for the Claret Jug ahead of an exciting weekend of golf

“I actually think he did unbelievably well, if you think about all the pressure he’s under, to get back through that period where he quad the first, and he had a rough finish, but that middle straight – I think he probably hasn’t had the credit he deserves for doing that.”

Listen back to Tommy Fleetwood on Hawksbee and Jacobs IN FULL above!

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Golf – talkSPORT

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