'I would like to punch myself': Rory McIlroy's Open hopes in tatters after disastrous round (VIDEO)
2014 winner McIlroy endured as bad as a start as he has ever had to a Major, hooking his first tee shot out of bounds en route to a double-bogey on the first hole - and it didn't get much better from that point onwards.Also on rt.com WATCH: Golfer Paul Casey plays incredible chip shot from INSIDE storm shelter
Another bogey followed on the third hole, nicknamed "Calamity Corner," before the pre-tournament betting favorite briefly appeared to get back into his groove. But the positivity evaporated at the 16th when a disastrous three-putt left him with another double bogey.
Things then went from bad to worse when he registered an astonishing triple-bogey to finish his round tied for 150th place in the standings as he (eventually) sank his final putt.
McIlroy's disastrous opening round left the Northern Irishman trailing Ireland's Shane Lowry by a mammoth 12 shots. Lowry finished his round as the clubhouse leader with an impressive four-under 67.
"I would like to punch myself," said McIlroy after his nightmare round.
"I made a couple of stupid mistakes. I was pretty nervous on the first tee and hit a bad shot. I showed some resilience in the middle of the round and was trying to fight back into the championship but then I finished off poorly as well. Seven over par combined on the first and last holes makes it very hard for you.
"At the end of the day I play golf to fulfill my ambitions, not anyone else's. But I wish I could have given the crowd something to cheer about," he said.
"I let myself down more than anyone else and need to pick myself back up."
McIlroy's form on the tournament's opening day was particularly surprising given the Belfast man set the course record at Portrush as a 15-year-old. Back in 2005 he scored an impressive ten under par 61 - a tally which some suggest will never be broken - and it looks like he will need to rediscover some of that teenage form if he is to have any hope of avoiding the cut.Also on rt.com 'The greatest comeback I've ever seen': Michael Jordan hails Tiger Woods' dramatic Masters triumph