UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. – Rory McIlroy’s bid for a second U.S. Open title is off to a bumpy start.
McIlroy opened with a 2-over 72 at Chambers Bay, squaring four bogeys against just two birdies. The Ulsterman started on the back nine and birdied his second hole of the day, but didn’t make a birdie across his final 11 holes. McIlroy bogeyed No. 7, his 16th hole of the day, and closed with a bogey on No. 9 after missing a 3-foot putt for par.
McIlroy found 10 of 14 fairways, 12 of 18 greens in regulation and took 30 putts.
"It was frustrating, especially how I felt I hit the ball from tee to green," McIlroy said. "I felt like I gave myself enough chances out there to convert a few and wasn't able to do that."
He was unable to take advantage of relatively benign conditions during Thursday’s morning wave, and the score left him seven shots behind co-leaders Dustin Johnson and Henrik Stenson.
McIlroy’s four major victories have all been sparked by quick starts, and his track record when playing from behind is less than sterling. He has never won a tournament as a pro when shooting over par in the opening round, and if he is to put that streak in any sort of jeopardy, he'll need to adjust to Chambers Bay's quirky - and crusty - greens.
"They are not the best that I've ever putted on," he said. "I need to find a rhythm in my stroke over the next three days, work a bit on the putting green and hopefully it will be better tomorrow."