Schwartzel shoots 65, takes early Memorial lead


Under sunny skies in central Ohio, a world-class field was able to take advantage of relatively calm conditions Thursday to start The Memorial Tournament. Here's the skinny heading into the second round at Muirfield Village, where a former major champion is staked to a one-shot lead: 

The leaderboard: Charl Schwartzel (-7), Scott Piercy (-6), Josh Teater (-5), Russell Henley (-5), Kyle Stanley (-5), Charlie Wi (-5), Bill Haas (-4), Matt Kuchar (-4)

What it means: Scoring in the first round was easier for players in the morning wave, as those in the afternoon session faced breezy conditions and a firmer course. Schwartzel was among those able to get off to a strong start early in the day, and as a result finds himself out in front on a day where several notable players struggled.

Round of the day: Schwartzel's round included 10 birdies, with the former Masters champion notching four straight red figures both from holes 4-7 and 14-17. The South African missed just one fairway and reached 16 of 18 greens in regulation Thursday, pacing the field despite a double bogey on the par-3 eighth hole. 

Best of the rest: Piercy was one of the first players near the top on the leaderboard Thursday morning, chipping in at the eighth hole to cap a string of five straight birdies. From there he added three more back-nine birdies and, despite a closing bogey on the home hole, sits just one shot off the pace.

Biggest disappointment: Rory McIlroy is no stranger to success at Muirfield Village, having finished fifth in 2010 and T-10 in 2011. The Ulsterman appears headed for his second straight missed cut at this event, though, after opening Thursday with a 6-over 78. The reigning PGA champion managed just a pair of birdies against six bogeys and a double bogey, and as a result now sits 13 shots off the lead.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Two weeks after nearly winning in Dallas, Schwartzel will look to stay out in front but will likely face more difficult conditions Friday afternoon. Several of those chasing him will look to take advantage of benign conditions in the morning, including Haas, Kuchar and Tiger Woods, who remains in the mix after a 1-under 71 Thursday.

Shot of the day: After contending last week at Colonial, Scott Stallings came to Muirfield Village in hopes of continuing the momentum. His opening round was highlighted by the par-5 15th hole, where Stallings was bunkered short of the green in two shots. From there, the two-time PGA Tour champion holed his third shot for an eagle, a high point on a tumultuous round of 2-under 70 that also included five birdies and five bogeys.

Quote of the day: 'I'm pretty frustrated. I'm trying not to let it get to me. I don’t really have many explanations for this.' – McIlroy, whose round of 78 included a four-putt double bogey at the 12th hole.