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The 148th Open Royal Portrush

Dream start


Clarke opens The Open with a birdie at the first

Darren Clarke

Darren Clarke struck the opening tee shot Thursday morning at Royal Portrush, starting Northern Ireland's first Open in 68 years with a birdie.

Portrush resident Darren Clarke quickly showed why the rest of the Open field has been so eager to pick his brain this week: The man knows his way around the Dunluce Links.

The 2011 Champion Golfer of the Year kicked off The 148th Open with this drive Thursday morning, eliciting raucous cheers from the grandstand surrounding the first tee box.

A quality approach then left the Ulsterman this look at an opening birdie: