Rory McIlroy shot the fastest round of early starters on Day 1 of the 2022 PGA Championship at Southern Hills; watch the PGA Championship all week long live on Sky Sports Golf
Last update: 05/19/22 20:54
Rory McIlroy said he felt comfortable with his game after the first round of the PGA Championship at Southern Hills.
Rory McIlroy has admitted he must avoid “getting ahead” after a brilliant opening round of the 104th PGA Championship at Southern Hills ignited his hopes of winning a first major tournament since 2014.
McIlroy produced an imperious display to hit six under at Tulsa, before overcoming a late blip to seal a closing birdie that gave the club the lead with a five-under par 65.
“I came here knowing my game was in good shape,” McIlroy said. sky sports. “So it’s just about going out there and executing the shots you know you can.
“Today I did that really well and I just need to try and replicate that tomorrow, Saturday, Sunday and not get ahead of myself, but it was a good start.”
The performance ended a string of disappointing first-round majors displays for McIlroy, who had posted a combined par of 35 above the first round of majors since the most recent of his four major wins, at the 2014 PGA Championship.
McIlroy birdied four in a row to take the lead on his first lap.
It was a continuation of the form McIlroy showed in his final run at a major tournament, when a final-day charge at the Masters in April saw him earn a second-place finish behind Scottie Scheffler.
“I played well coming here,” McIlroy said. “I have good form. Obviously I shot a lot from that last round in Augusta, I played well at Wells Fargo and I played well in the practice rounds earlier this week.
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“I think when your game feels like that, it’s just a matter of going out there and really sticking to your game plan, executing as well as you can and kind of sticking around. in your own little world. I did really well today. It was nice to get off to a good start and keep going.”
“So nice to finish with a birdie”
After taking a three-shot lead with a birdie to hit six under in the fifth (his 14th after teeing off in the 10th), McIlroy dropped shots on the tough par-three sixth and eighth holes to find himself tied at the top of the rank.
However, he regained his composure to set up a birdie chance at ninth and made a 19-foot putt to reestablish his position at the top of the leaderboard.
McIlroy birdied his last hole of the day to regain the solo lead at Southern Hills.
“It was so nice, because to get to six cents for the day and give some back on the par threes, and not feel like you had done so much harm,” McIlroy said.
“It’s that kind of golf course, you don’t have to go to great lengths to make a bogey here.
“So to get one of those shots back and finish with a birdie is always nice.”
McIlroy said his comfort level was helped playing alongside Tiger Woods (+4) and Jordan Spieth (+2), who both struggled on Thursday.
Tiger Woods says he struggled both physically and mentally in the first round of the PGA Championship.
“Once the draw on Tuesday, I was thrilled to play in a group like that,” McIlroy said. “I still love playing with Tiger and Jordan.
“It’s a pretty comfortable group for all of us, we’ve all played together a lot, we all know each other quite well.”
Faxon: Rory needed a good start to feel better about himself
McIlroy’s putt coach, Brad Faxon, who is part of the sky sports The Southern Hills commentary team this week felt it was vitally important for the two-time champion to get off to a good start.
“I know that was on Rory’s mind, trying to get off to a good start,” Faxon said. “I don’t think he needed to lead the tournament to feel better about himself, just get to where he was under par, and what a great way to start.
McIlroy went to six under par with an impressive high and low for a birdie on the par-5 fifth hole.
“He made this five under game very easy – he rolled beautifully, drove the ball far and I like his short game right now.
“He did it with some nice drives, whether they had to curve left or right, short holes and long holes, his iron game looked pretty good too. His approach game , which could have been in need of a bit of improvement, certainly looks good too.
“He had some nice putts for par and even though he dropped two putts, he got that one in the end and that’s going to make lunch a whole lot better.”
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