Street. Andrews, Scotland – Ulsterman Rory McIlroy was a betting hall favorite from Belfast to St Andrews and after a 6-under-66 at the 150th British Open, he justified the belief of the betting audience that a fifth major might be in his sights.
It’s the McIlroy Open’s best opening round since McIlroy played 66 at Holick in 2014, McIlroy went to Wire to win only Clarett Gough by two strokes over Ricky Fowler.
With seven birds and only one shot on hole number 4, McIlroy did what you’re supposed to do around the old pitch.
“It punched holes that birds would be able to,” McIlroy said. “I made cuts in the holes where I was kind of looking to equalize and go to the next tee. And I didn’t put myself out of the situation much.”
With 65 in the opening round of the PGA Championship in the Southern Hills and 67 in The Country Club at the US Open, McIlroy appears to have discovered one of his biggest problems, getting off to a good start.
Unfortunately, McIlroy struggled in his last two third-round majors and eventually finished eighth in the PGA and fifth at the US Open.
“I came here playing really well, and I’ve played this golf course really well over the years,” McIlroy said. “So, I knew that if I just went out there and played my game and stuck to my game plan, something like this was possible.”
With one win in the 2022 RBC Canadian Open, his record has been impressive since he finished second in the Masters after the 64th final. McIlroy left Augusta in a fifth round at Wells Fargo, eighth in the PGA, T18 in the Memorial Championship, winning the Canadian, T5 at the US Open, and T19 at the Travelers Championship.
It’s a race that McIlroy views as a solid stretch of golf and one in which his game has shown some cracks, and everything looks very stable.
“Everything seems nice and quiet, which is a nice way to be,” McIlroy said.
McIlroy specifically cited his performance on the 17th hole on Thursday.
He hit with thrust into the fairway, but in a lie where he didn’t feel he could get the leading edge of his wedge squishing under the ball to get a good enough shot at it. So, a wedge broke a small gap and pulled it out.
McIlroy made the equalizer but played the right shot, which means he made the right decision, but missed the execution.
“I only had 85 yards in front of the green on 17, and I knew 4 would be a good result,” McIlroy said. “So, I think sometimes accepting that and not being overly aggressive, even when you put yourself in some of these situations. I think that is important.”
With only one round in the books, McIlroy will need to continue his good play by scoring very low goals. More than a third of the 156-man field is below par, and unless the winds blow over the next three days, good scoring will continue to prevail.
McIlroy knows this and with his firepower should be able to keep up with anyone on the field, but he has rarely won having to go so low; It usually grows in moist conditions.
“I should just go out and play the same golf I’ve played today, the same golf I’ve played for the past few weeks,” McIlroy said. “I was playing well. I was swinging the club really well. And I think it would be better if I didn’t think about it too much and just go play golf and try to score some good results on one of my favorite golf courses in the world.”
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