CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Rory McIlroy’s 72 on Day 1 at the PGA Championship was just his ninth round in the 70s at Quail Hollow in 27 trips around the layout, yet the Northern Irishman didn’t sound like a man who’d just had a bad day at the office.
“If I just could have had that three-hole stretch back, but I think other than that, I played nicely,” said McIlroy, whose 1-over round left him tied for 33rd. “I did what I needed to do. Birdied the par 5s, birdied the holes that you should birdie.”
But then there was that three-hole stretch, which began with a bogey at the par-3 13th hole and was made worse by a double bogey-6 at No. 14 when his tee shot found a water hazard and he followed that with a poor chip.
Although he would fail to birdie the par-5 15th hole, it was No. 14 that marred what was otherwise a solid day. Despite the double bogey, McIlroy said he wasn’t disappointed with his decision to try to drive the green at the 14th.
“Just the execution,” he said. “I'm sure more than half the field, I would say 75 percent of the field are going for that green. I just turned [his 3-wood] over too much.”
Still, McIlroy – who has won the Wells Fargo Championship twice at Quail Hollow – was confident after playing his first 12 holes in 2 under par and staying within five strokes of the lead.
“I was hitting the ball well. I could see birdies. I can see a low one out there. It's just a matter of not shooting yourself in the foot too often like I did today,” he said.