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Thursday, July 18, 2024

US Open: McIlroy and Cantlay share lead after round one

Rory McIlroy and Patrick Cantlay hold a share of the lead after day one of the US Open at Pinehurst, North Carolina.

McIlroy went out late alongside Scottie Scheffler and Xander Schauffele but thrived under the pressure, finishing the round five under par and without a bogey.

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Ahead of the tournament, only five of 1,368 US Open rounds had been recorded without a bogey, but the Northern Irishman – along with Spain’s Sergio Garcia – added their names to the list of those who have now achieved that.

McIlroy is searching for his first major title since 2014 and is off to a good start.

It is only the second time he has played through the opening round and avoided a bogey, the other time was en route to his first major title in 2011.

The 35-year-old came second in the US Open last year and has the bit between his teeth to end his draught, although there has been a pattern of starting well and falling away at the weekend.

However, he was delighted with his play on Thursday, which included a delightful chip-in birdie on the fifth hole.

He said: “It was a really controlled round of golf.

“I am just trying to be as even-keeled as I possibly can.

“I feel like that has served me well in US Opens over the past few years.”

Cantlay played his golf earlier in the day, taking the outright lead early on from Sweden’s Ludvig Aberg on what is a notoriously difficult course.

The 32-year-old missed the cut at the Memorial Tournament last week but after hitting three birdies on the back nine, he stormed out front.

Conditions are expected to get more difficult over the rest of the week, and the American, alongside McIlroy, admitted he was trying to take the advantage early.

He added: “I knew going off in the morning it was going to play the easiest it will play all week, with the lack of wind and probably the softest we will see it.

“I was happy with my round.”

Elsewhere, Bryson DeChambeau is close behind the leaders at -3 and had it not been for a bogey at the 16th, he would have been within touching distance of first place.

It was not a good day for Scottie Scheffler who, after the drama at the PGA Championship last month, was returning for another major.

He shot three-over-par and his partner Schaueffele stood and watched McIlroy’s fine round as well while recording a +1 score.

English duo Matt Fitzpatrick and Justin Rode both shot +3 and Tiger Woods started well, but finished the day four over, putting him at serious risk of missing the cut at the end of Friday’s action.




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