Rory McIlroy comes out swinging with stellar US Open start

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There were good omens aplenty for the Northern Irishman as he aims to take his first major title since 2014.
Posted on
June 14, 2024
by
The Editorial Team in ,
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

History was on Rory McIlroy’s side as he attempted to follow a brilliant start with another step towards a first major title since 2014 in the 124th US Open.

McIlroy carded a superb, bogey-free 65 to share the overnight lead with American Patrick Cantlay at Pinehurst, both players matching the first-round score of Martin Kaymer on his way to a runaway victory at the same venue in 2014.

Another good omen for McIlroy was that the last three times he has started a major with a bogey-free round – in the 2011 US Open, 2012 US PGA and 2014 Open – he went on to win all three.

Two days after reconciling with his wife Erica and dismissing the divorcecone petition he filed last month, McIlroy holed from seven feet for a birdie on the fourth, chipped in for another on the next and birdied the 10th, 16th and 18th to equal his lowest opening score in the US Open.

Playing partners Scottie Scheffler and Xander Schauffele, who won the year’s first two majors, shot 71 and 70, respectively.

“I went through a run there for a while where my starts at major championships weren’t very good. Probably got myself a little too worked up at the start of the week,” McIlroy said.

“Certainly the major championships that I’ve won or the ones that I’ve played well at, I’ve always seemed to get off to a good start, and it’s nice to get off to another one.

“My short game was good early on. I chipped in at five and had a really good up and down on six and on eight. But apart from that, I think I hit every other green. It was a really controlled round of golf.”

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy (left) and Scottie Scheffler finish their first rounds in the US Open at Pinehurst (Mike Stewart/AP)

McIlroy, Scheffler, and Schauffele were among the early starters on Friday, hoping to exploit what they expected to be ideal conditions.

“Selfishly for me, getting back out there in the morning, it’s going to be nice,” McIlroy said.

“Hopefully, the clouds clear away, and it’s a nice clear day for the guys in the afternoon.”

Quote of the day

“Same questions every week. The lack of creativity with questions is kinda boring. I know I’m not a media favourite either, so it’s not like anyone will notice. LOL.” – Brooks Koepka explains why he turned down interview requests after an opening 70.

Statistic of the day

Top statistician Justin Ray highlights a marked improvement for joint leader Patrick Cantlay.

Shot of the day

An inconsistent amount of sand in the bunkers caused some issues, but not for Nick Dunlap.

Round of the day

Patrick Cantlay had set the early target with a 65, but McIlroy’s round was a superb bogey-free effort in the tougher afternoon conditions.

Easiest hole

One of just two par fives on the course, the fifth played the easiest hole as it gave up a remarkable nine eagles, 60 birdies, 13 bogeys and not a single double bogey for a scoring average of 4.580.

Hardest hole

The easiest hole was immediately followed by the hardest as the par-three sixth gave up just three birdies. A total of 63 bogeys and seven double bogeys resulted in an average of 3.470.

Selected tee times (all BST)

1229 – Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele, Scottie Scheffler
1240 – Bryson DeChambeau, Viktor Hovland, Max Homa
1825 – Patrick Cantlay, Matt Kuchar, Russell Henley
1836 – Tony Finau, Ludvig Aberg, Dustin Johnson

Weather forecast

After a clear, calm, and comfortable evening on Thursday, Friday is set to be the hottest day of the week, with highs approaching the mid-90s thanks to lighter and more variable winds.

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The editorial team at Golf Today strives to provide readers with captivating content that celebrates the rich heritage and exciting developments in the world of golf. Their collective expertise and dedication ensure that Golf Today remains a premier destination for golf enthusiasts seeking the latest news, insightful analysis, and engaging stories from the world of golf.

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