Rory McIlroy off the pace at Carnoustie

Carnoustie (Agencies): World No.1 Rory McIlroy was struggling to reproduce his Ryder Cup form on the opening day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Thursday. McIlroy was an approximate eight under par in beating Rickie Fowler 5&4 in the singles at Gleneagles as Europe defeated the United States for the eighth time in the last 10 events. But he managed just a single birdie for a one-over-par round of 73 on the first day at the pro-am event, which is played over St Andrews' Old Course, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns. Carnoustie is traditionally the hardest of the three courses but was playing relatively easy in benign conditions, with the top three on the leaderboard all at the Open Championship venue. England's Oliver Wilson was out in front after equalling the course record with an eight-under-par round of 64. France's Raphael Jacquelin recorded five birdies and an eagle to reach the clubhouse in seven-under, tying for second with Ryder Cup vice-captain Padraig Harrington, who won the first of his back-to-back Open titles at Carnoustie in 2007. McIlroy bogeyed the sixth and 16th to place in jeopardy his ambition to win a fifth tournament this year and also make the cut in the team event, thereby allowing his amateur partner - his father Gerry - to play the Old Course at St Andrews on his 55th birthday on Sunday. Ryder Cup team-mates Martin Kaymer, Victor Dubuisson and Stephen Gallacher were also playing Carnoustie - Kaymer finishing two-over, Gallacher carding five-under after 14 and Dubuisson one-under after 15.

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