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Thursday, 18 July 2019
Royal Portrush Golf Club  (Getty Images)
Royal Portrush Golf Club (Getty Images)

An emotional local hero, every type of weather you could imagine for summer in the British Isles and something that had not been done before in 147 Open Championships formed the story of day one at the season's final Major.

Here is everything you need to know from day one at Royal Portrush Golf Club.

Holmes leads from elite chasing pack

American Ryder Cup star J B Holmes carded a closing birdie to sign for a 66 and take a one shot lead after day one but he had an impressive chasing pack made up largely of European Tour members behind him. World Golf Championships and Rolex Series winner Shane Lowry was the nearest challenger ahead of 13 players at three under. Sat two shots off the lead were Major champions Sergio Garcia, Brooks Koepka and Webb Simpson, former Race to Dubai champions Tommy Fleetwood and Lee Westwood, fellow Rolex Series winners Tyrrell Hatton, Alex Noren and Jon Rahm, along with Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Tony Finau, Ryan Fox, Dylan Frittelli and Robert MacIntyre who completed the group.

Home hero Clarke gets the championship under way

The alarms went off especially early on Thursday morning as an adoring home crowd assembled to see Northern Irishman Darren Clarke hit the opening tee shot at 6.35am. The early risers were immediately rewarded as 2011 Open Champion Clarke holed his 15 foot birdie putt at the first to take the lead and he remained top of the fledgling leaderboard after adding further birdies at the third and fifth before signing for an opening 71. “I didn’t think I would feel the way I did, but the support, the crowd, everything about it, I just thought ‘wow, it’s The Open Championship’,” the tearful 50-year-old said. “We’re back here in Portrush, and it was amazing.”

Fantastic Fox makes history

The Open Championship has played host to most things since it was first staged in 1860 but in the 159 years since, nobody had ever fired a 29 on the back nine until Thursday. When Fox turned in 39, the chances of him being the first man to do it looked pretty remote but he made four birdies in a row from the 12th and had a birdie-birdie finish to join the golfing immortals.

13 is not so unlucky for Grillo

The moment of the first morning belonged to Argentina's Emiliano Grillo, who produced a spectacular ace at the 200 yard 13th thanks to a little help from the course. With the flag positioned at the back left corner of the green, the ball hit the shoulder before cruising towards the hole and diving in.

Great Scots

You always expect the Scots to play well on links golf courses but you don't expect them to be this good.

First it was Connor Syme.

And then MacIntyre.

Take a bow, gents.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1LOWRY, ShaneIRL18-15
2FLEETWOOD, TommyENG18-9
3FINAU, TonyUSA18-7
T4WESTWOOD, LeeENG18-6
T4KOEPKA, BrooksUSA18-6
T6MACINTYRE, RobertSCO18-5

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