AKRON, Ohio – Exactly two weeks before the opening round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Rory McIlroy trudged off Muirfield after a 79 and admitted that he lacked confidence and was “brain dead” on the course.
Perhaps that’s why he’s approaching this week with a different mindset.
“I'm just trying to enjoy myself this week, enjoy my golf, play with a bit more of a smile on my face, and I sort of did that,” he said after an opening-round even-par 70.
McIlroy, who turned his season around last year with a T-5 at this event that was followed by an eight-stroke PGA Championship win, made bogey on the eighth hole and double-bogey on the 10th, but quickly came back with birdies on three of his next five holes to stop the bleeding.
“I played some really nice shots,” he said. “Hit a great drive up 11, great iron shot into 12, two good shots into 13, two good shots into 14, great shot into 15. So I got on a run there, which was great to see.”
McIlroy will enter the second round six shots behind leader Webb Simpson.