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Rory McIlroy drive breaks PGA Tour employee's hand at British Open

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Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy hits a drive on No. 4 in the first round of the 150th British Open on Thursday at the Old Course at St. Andrews in St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/b09da2f2a9883d98a800a0492aea06b5/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy hits a drive on No. 4 in the first round of the 150th British Open on Thursday at the Old Course at St. Andrews in St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI | License Photo

July 15 (UPI) -- A Rory McIlroy drive soared into the crowd and broke the hand of a PGA Tour employee during the first round of the British Open in St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland.

Charlie Kane, the lead of social content for the PGA Tour, posted about the incident Thursday on Twitter and Facebook. The tournament will run through Sunday at the Old Course at St. Andrews.

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"Fractured hand after Rory McIlroy's drive landed on my knuckle," Kane wrote in his social media posts. "He shouted fore. I did not heed the warning."

Kane also posted four photos of his hand, including one from St. Andrews Community Hospital. The photos showed a bruised left palm and swollen middle finger. His hand was later bandaged and his arm was placed in a sling.

McIlroy's ball speed averages 182.98 mph, but his fastest speed in 2022 was 190.5 mph. The four-time major champion also hit a drive into a cover for an old stone marking on the fifth hole at the ancient course, which took away some distance on his approach.

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Despite the misfortune on the two drives, McIlroy fired a 6-under par 66 over his first 18 holes. He finished in second place through the first round. He managed to carve out the low score despite half of his drives landing either outside of the fairway or on the fringe Thursday at St. Andrews.

"It was a fantastic start," McIlroy told reporters. "Just sort of what you hope will happen when you are starting off your week. ... I got off to a good start going out. It's important here, to make your score going out and sort of hang on a little bit."

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Cameron Young was the first-round leader at 8-under par. Cameron Smith, Robert Dinwiddie, Dustin Johnson, Scottie Scheffler, Talor Gooch, Barclay Brown, Lee Westwood, Brad Kennedy, Viktor Hovland and Kurt Kitayama joined Young and McIlroy inside the Top 5.

Johnson shot up the leaderboard and into first place early Friday with a 5-under par 67 to move to 9-under par for the tournament. Scheffler carded another 4-under par 68 to move into a tie with Tyrrell Hatton for second place. Hatton shot a 6-under 66.

Adam Scott moved into a tie for fifth place with a 7-under 65, the best score so far at the final major of the season.

Young was 1-over through three holes Friday. McIlroy, the 2014 British Open winner, started the second round at about 10 a.m. EDT. Collin Morikawa, Justin Thomas and Will Zalatoris are among the other top golfers with later second-round tee times.

British Open second-round coverage will stream until 4 p.m. EDT Friday on Peacock. Second-round TV coverage will air until 3 p.m. Friday on USA Network.

Australian Cameron Smith wins 150th British Open in Scotland

Australian Cameron Smith kisses the claret jug after winning the 150th Open Championship at St. Andrews Golf Club in Scotland on Sunday. Smith won with a score of 20 under par. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI | License Photo

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