The Open: McIlroy determined to back up fine start at St Andrews

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Rory McIlroy was thrilled with his first-round 66 at the 150th Open Championship and is determined to back it up with another strong showing on Friday.

The four-time major winner sat two shots behind clubhouse leader Cameron Young after a superb opening round at St Andrews, with only one blemish on his scorecard.

McIlroy came close to an eagle on the last but settled for a birdie that left him six under and firmly in the mix.

"That was just sort of what you hope will happen when you're starting off your week," he said.

"I did everything that you're supposed to do around St Andrews. I birdied the holes that are birdieable and I made pars at the holes where you're sort of looking to make a par and move to the next tee. I didn't really put myself out of position too much.

"So, overall, really pleased. It's another good start at a major. Three in a row for me now. And looking forward to the next few days.

"Everything feels very settled. No real issues with my game. Everything feels like it's in good shape. Everything feels just sort of nice and quiet, which is a nice way to be."

Despite his evident satisfaction, the 2014 Champion Golfer of the Year, who was injured and unable to defend that title at St Andrews in 2015, knows he cannot rest on his laurels.

"I need to go out and back up what I just did," he said. "I think that's important to do.

"But again, this golf course isn't going to change that much, I don't think, in terms of conditions.

"I've seen the golf course now in tournament play and tournament conditions and know what to expect. I've just got to go out and back up what I've done."

While McIlroy enjoyed a fine start, the same could not be said for 15-time major winner Tiger Woods, who was four over through six holes and facing an uphill struggle to make the weekend.

Reigning champion Collin Morikawa signed for an even-par 72, while English amateur Barclay Brown made a name for himself with a 68.

World number one Scottie Scheffler looms large on four under after 11 holes.

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