Golf: Rainy days and Fridays always get McIlroy down

So far so good for Rory McIlroy at the British Open - now comes the hard part.

The 25-year-old Ulsterman made a storming start at Hoylake in what is his seventh Open campaign with a superb six-under 66 that gave him the outright lead.

But going by his form this year, he may have a hard time holding onto that position in Friday's second round.

For McIlroy has of late had the unhappy habit of following a good opening round with a dismal second and he is somewhat at a loss to explain it all.

"I think it's just that whenever I go out and play on Thursdays there's not not 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," he said.

"When you go back out on Friday after a good score, you know what you can do on the golf course. So you're going out with some expectations compared to when on Thursday you're going out with not many.

"I think I've just got to approach it like that, and start off trying to hit solid shots the first few holes and play my way into the round, just like I did today.

"Just take it one hole at a time, one shot at a time. I know everyone says it and you've heard it a million times, but thats the way it is."

McIlroy's Friday flops were in evidence as recently as last week at Royal Aberdeen in the Scottish Open when he fired a course record of 64 in the first round only to back it up with a 78 on the Friday.

But that was just the latest manifestation of a phenomena that has been nagging at him all year.

"I had a bad Friday afternoon at Augusta, and then just made the cut (71-77)," he said.

"And then I started off horrifically at Quail Hollow on Friday afternoon. And then did the same thing at Sawgrass. That's like three tournaments in a row.

"That's when I was conscious of it. I was three-over through nine on Friday at Wentworth, and then I was able to get it back in form.

"And then Memorial obviously was the biggest one (63-78). There's nothing really to it.

"It's just, as I said about maybe having higher expectations going out on a Friday because you shot a low round, and just trying to put those expectations aside and just try and take it one hole at a time."

McIlroy's 66 was the second best round of golf he has played at the British Open and one that sets him up nicely for a tilt at a third major title.

The only time he has bettered that was four years ago at St Andrews when he shot a magnificent course record of 63 to start with.

The following day - on the Friday - he staggered in with an 80 that effectively wrecked his chances of winning what then would have been his first major.