Rory McIlroy shot a season-worst 9-over 80 on Thursday in the Irish Open to fall 13 strokes behind the first-round leaders.

The top-ranked McIlroy, from Northern Ireland, had nine bogeys in his morning round in cold and windy conditions and occasional rain at Royal County Down in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. He was tied for 150th in the 155-man field.

McIlroy missed the cut last week in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in England after winning the PGA Tour's Wells Fargo Championship the previous week in North Carolina. McIlroy won the European Tour's Dubai Desert Classic in February and the WGC-Match Play Championship in San Francisco on May 3.

Ireland's Padraig Harrington and Germany's Maximilian Kieffer shot 67 to share the lead.

Rickie Fowler opened with a 71 playing alongside McIlroy. The American is coming off a victory three weeks ago in PGA Tour's Players Championship.

If McIlroy fails to make the cut Friday, it would be his third straight early exit at the Irish Open. He's never come close to winning the event in eight tries.

Bowditch shoots 62 at Byron Nelson

Steven Bowditch matched his career best with an 8-under 62 in the AT&T Byron Nelson in Irving, Texas, leaving Jordan Spieth seven strokes back in the Masters champion's hometown event.

Bowditch, the Australian also playing close to his home in the Dallas suburbs, made three putts of at least 24 feet while shooting a 30 on the front nine at TPC Four Seasons Resort.

Another Texan, Jimmy Walker, was second after a 64.


Broncos left tackle tears ACL

The Denver Broncos are searching for someone to watch Peyton Manning's back after left tackle Ryan Clady tore his left anterior cruciate ligament and will likely be out for the season.

Clady hurt his knee during a voluntary practice Wednesday, an injury that no one thought was really all that serious. Clady was setting up to pass block when his knee buckled, Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said. He even took another snap before pulling himself out of practice because his knee was sore.

Clady started every game last season and made his fourth Pro Bowl squad.

horse racing

Belmont field coming into focus

Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner American Pharoah figures to have nine challengers when he runs in the Belmont Stakes next week, trying to become the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years.

Seven of his expected rivals return from the Derby or the Preakness, while two others are new to the Triple Crown trail.

The latest horse to join the mix was The Truth or Else, who has two wins in two starts at Belmont Park. He is trained by Ken McPeek, who ended War Emblem's Triple try in 2002 with 70-1 shot Sarava.

The field will be set next Wednesday, when entries are taken and post positions drawn.

around the horn

College softball: Michigan, the only team outside the SEC or Pac-12 at the College World Series, opened play in Oklahoma City with a 5-0 victory over Alabama. Other winners Thursday in the double-elimination tournament were defending champion Florida and LSU. UCLA and Oregon played late.

College baseball: The 64-team NCAA tournament begins Friday at 16 regional sites around the country.

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