Thu Jul 15 08:22am EDT
In the movie "Tin Cup," a driving-range pro by the name of Roy McAvoy has a chance in the second round of the U.S. Open to break the all-time scoring record in a major championship. Little did we know that a pro by nearly the same name would come thisclose to actually doing so.
Rory McIlroy, the 21-year-old phenom who shot a final-round 62 in May to win the Quail Hollow Championship, shot an opening-round 63 at the British Open on Thursday. He is the first player to ever go that low in the first round of this tournament, and he becomes the 22nd player to shoot that low in a major championship, doing so with a closing birdie he made dead center on 18.
If John Daly's opening round was heavy on the appetizers, light on the entrées, as was Tiger Woods' brilliant 5-under 67, McIlroy's was the complete opposite. Only 1-under through eight holes, the Northern Irishman got his round going when he drove the par-4 ninth and dropped the putt for an eagle. He played his inward nine holes 6-under to post the special 63, and admitted after the round that he started thinking about the number on the 16th.
Maybe the most incredible thing about his 63 was what the round could have been. McIlroy didn't birdie the favorable par-5 fifth hole, and had an incredible shot at making 3 on the Road Hole, the most famous hole in the world. After a great drive from the new tee on the 17th, McIlroy took dead aim at the flag, landing his shot 3-feet short of the pin. He pushed the birdie putt, however, and had to settle for a par. If that putt drops, we could be talking about the lowest major championship round ever coming at the home of golf.
If you don't know much about McIlroy, you will. He's the leading name that pops up when you talk about youngsters with a great shot at bagging a major, especially at a course that he's never shot over 69 at in competition.
While the tired quote goes, "You can't win a major on Thursday but you can sure lose one," McIlroy is one that can get hot and run away from the rest of the field. If Rory continues to play well, and leaves St. Andrews with the Claret Jug, it would be two in a row in majors for those pros from Northern Ireland.
More Yahoo! coverage of the British Open:
• John Daly adds another memory at St. Andrews
• Tiger Woods posts his best round of the year | See the photos
• Stewart Cink's tweet-covered bag brings Twitter to St. Andrews