The Open. Rory on Route 66. July 17 2014

dragon logo dark Rory McIlroy produced another magical Thursday first round, this time a flawless route 66 at The Open, in glorious weather at Royal Liverpool. Rory McIlroy is looking for the third leg of the career Grand Slam. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)   Rory McIlroy / Getty Images Rory carded a -6 under par 66 at Hoylake to sit proudly on top of the leaderboard of The Open Championship. He reported that he was more relaxed on a Thursday, we will see tomorrow if he can hold it all together; "Any time you shoot 66 at The Open Championship, you're going to be pleased. We had perfect scoring conditions out there this morning. There wasn't much wind early on and there were plenty of opportunities to make birdies and I was able to take a few of them." "It's another great start and, yeah, looking forward to getting back out there tomorrow. Whenever I go out and play on Thursdays there are not really many expectations. You're going out there and you're trying to find a rhythm and you're just trying to play your way into the round." "When you go back out on Friday after a good score you know what you can do, so you're going out with some expectations compared to Thursday. I think I've just got to approach it like that, start off trying to hit solid shots the first few holes and play my way into the round, just like I did today." In second place on the leaderboard is Italian Matteo Manassero, who is just one shot behind after his opening round of -5 under par 67. Matteo likes this course, which bodes well for his first Major success; "I like the course, it’s fair, flat, where you hit your shot it’s going to roll on that line. If I ever win an Open, I don’t think I’ll win it on a golf course that I don’t like. So the fact that I like it, it’s already a good thing." “The main preparation for The Open, I’ve done it in Aberdeen and it was just the best preparation I could’ve had. We had strong wind, little wind, calm wind, different directions of wind and the course was firm. It was really linksy. I put myself in a very links frame of mind.” There is bunch of seven players tied in third spot, including another two Italians, Francesco and Edoardo Molinari. All of this chasing pack are on -3 under par. Tiger Woods recorded a -3 under par 69 and is tied in tenth position at the end of day one, and said it was a positive start; "I knew I could do it. That's why it was so important for me to play at Congressional. At Congressional I made some terrible mistakes mentally. My decisions weren't very crisp and I wasn't decisive enough. Today was totally different and consequently I shot a better score." "I'm getting stronger, I'm getting faster, I'm getting more explosive. The ball is starting to travel again and those are all positive things." Last weeks winner Justin Rose settled for an opening round of even par, while defending Champion Phil Mickelson returned a first round +2 over par 74.