Rory McIlroy says he was 'stuck in neutral' after disappointing start to Irish Open

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy on the sixteenth during Day One of the Irish Open. Photo by Brian Lawless/PA Images via Getty Images

Northern Irish golfer Rory McIlroy has fallen eight shots behind the leader in the first round of the Irish Open on the European tour.

Coming into the event, McIlory was believed to be the hot favourite, but fell behind Australian Lucas Herbert who leads after Day One.

The former world No. 1 started the day with three bogeys and just one birdie on his first nine to eventually go out in two-over-par, but would rally back to finish on evens.

"It is one of the those days, you can't really happened, I was stuck in neutral for most of the day," McIlory said to the European tour's website.

"I'm going to go work a few things out on the range in a minute to see if I can start a bit better tomorrow."

Meanwhile, fellow Brit Tommy Fleetwood fared better after the end of Day One, sitting three shots off Herbert and in the mix.

Irishman Shane Lowry will disappointed as he made four birdies and two bogeys to sit six shots adrift from the leader.

Despite his opening day, Lowry was keen to praise the fans who attended: "It was nice," he said to the European's tour website.

"There's only a small amount of people but felt like there were a lot of them with us and there was a bit of buzz and excitement which was nice.

"It's great to have a crowd. I've obviously been playing in America and very fortunate and I'm sure the guys who play full-time on the European Tour are pretty happy to see a crowd out there today because it does create an atmosphere."