PGA Championship: Rory McIlroy sees 'glimmer of hope’ in sport after 'confused’ and 'sloppy’ start | Golf News

Rory McIlroy carded an opening-round 71 at Oak Hill as he bounced back from a missed cut at The Masters to win his first major since 2014; You can watch the PGA Championship live all week on Sky Sports Golf

Last Updated: 18/05/23 9:23pm


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Rory McIlroy drilled an impressive putt from the green on the second hole at Oak Hill to stay tied and stay at three over during the first round of the 2023 PGA Championship.

Rory McIlroy drilled an impressive putt from the green on the second hole at Oak Hill to stay tied and stay at three over during the first round of the 2023 PGA Championship.

Despite bouncing back from a slow start to stay in contention at the 105th PGA Championship, Rory McIlroy wants his game to be where he wants it to be.

McIlroy found just two fairways off the tee during a snow-delayed opening round at Oak Hill, and he mixed three birdies with four bogeys to post a one-over 71.

He comes into the event on the back of a missed cut at The Masters and a disappointing week at the Wells Fargo Championship, with the four-time major champion – who admitted he was battling illness before the event – needing to finish strongly to avoid falling further down the leaderboard.

McIlroy shot a one-over 71 in Rochester on Thursday morning

McIlroy shot a one-over 71 in Rochester on Thursday morning

„Not my best,” McIlroy admitted. „I’m struggling with my swing. Yeah, it’s really messy out there, so I’m trying to make pars. I think that was tough, too. There was a lot of crosswind on the tees, so it made it hard to hit the fairways. . . . I can definitely hit more than that.”

„I’m feeling a little bit better than I did when I got off to a good start and made a couple of bogeys on the way in. I started to see a couple of great golf shots coming in the last few holes. There were some flashes. Confidence coming in.

McIlroy has finished in the top-25 in just two of his last seven world starts

McIlroy has finished in the top-25 in just two of his last seven world starts

„I’m fighting something. I thought I slept well last night and I looked at my hoop (personal fitness monitor) and I’m 22 percent recovered and my skin temperature is 3.5 degrees higher than it was. But I feel better today than I did yesterday, so a lot. Water and some rest, I’ll be fine.”

The breakthrough for McIlroy?

Starting on the back nine, McIlroy chased a par at the 10th from five feet and followed up with two-putt pars over the next four holes by failing to get up off the greenside bunker at the par-three 15th.

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McIlroy’s erratic driving saw him find just one fairway in his first nine holes, with the former world No. 1 failing to save par from the sand on the 17th.

The 34-year-old missed the fairway with an iron at the second and drove off the green with his third shot, drilling a remarkable 35-foot putt from the bottom of a slope to salvage an unlikely par.

Back in favor of McIlroy, he hit his tee shot to within two feet on the par-three, set up an easy birdie, then found the green in two on the 617-yard par-five. Putt from 20 feet to take another shot.

The birdie run came to an abrupt halt when he made a three-putt bogey at the fifth and failed to convert the next 12-foot opportunity, although a six-footer on the final drive helped him return to one over.

Paul McKinley believes McIlroy's confidence is low after The Masters and doesn't expect him to play well at the US PGA Championship.

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Paul McKinley believes McIlroy’s confidence is low after The Masters and doesn’t expect him to play well at the US PGA Championship.

Paul McKinley believes McIlroy’s confidence is low after The Masters and doesn’t expect him to play well at the US PGA Championship.

On how important the second par was, McIlroy said: „That was huge. I expected to make two over, make bogey and go to the third hole at four over.

„When you get off the green in three over and you hit a tee shot, the pendulum swings or the momentum goes the other way. All of a sudden, you make two birdies in a row and you feel like you’re kind of back in the tournament.

„Depending on what happens in the next three days and what I’m going to do, I might look back on that shot as the turning point of the week.”

Watch the 105th PGA Championship live on Sky Sports all week. Live coverage continues on Sky Sports Golf from 1pm on Friday.

READ  Rory McIlroy opened with a bogey-free 62 to lead the Dubai Invitational

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