TULSA † Rory McIlroy gave a real golf clinic on Thursday to Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth and the thousands of spectators who followed them step by step in Southern Hills. He opened the PGA Championship of America and stood out in all aspects of the game.
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The Northern Irishman only settled at the top of the table with a card of 65 (-5). This is a great way to chase a first major title since the same championship in 2014, in Valhalla.
Under a blazing sun and blistering heat as the thermometer read 35 degrees Celsius, McIlroy got a blast from the hills, favoring left-to-right lanes. He hit eight tee shots from over 330 yards, including four from over 350. His longest run was 378 yards.
While not the most accurate in approaching the pennants, Rory recovered brilliantly around the greens and managed to save the par on four of his six chances. He also limited himself to 25 putts on surfaces estimated at about 3.5 feet on the stimpmeter.
“It’s a very good start. I’ve been playing well lately. I’m in good shape. I’m still on my way from my last lap in Augusta. I also played well in the Wells Fargo Championship. Since the beginning of the week in training I have put in some good rounds”, explained the point guard.
On a roll
As for his memory of Augusta, we recall that he stole the show in the final round of the Masters Tournament by taking the best score of the day, a 64 (-8), to be just behind the champion, Scottie Scheffler. come.
With two Wanamaker trophies (2012 and 2014) on his mantelpiece, McIlroy enjoys the PGA of America Championship lineups. This week, he vowed to adopt an aggressive game plan.
“With this course, we can do it from the tees. So I can hit my driver often. I manage to use my strength by finishing the job with good approaches and a good putter. †
Not the first time
The 32-year-old golfer isn’t at his first rodeo to play with Woods. He savored the moment, watched by a huge crowd moving around the track.
He even exhausted all his energy while his companions were struggling.
According to him, the Southern Hills setup made him feel comfortable.
“The landscape is wide. The hallways too. There is room to breathe. It’s not stuffy like some other places on the track, he explained.
“I couldn’t wait to get started with Tiger and Jordan. It’s nice to be part of this group. †
Once again Zalatoris
Once again young Will Zalatoris stars in a Grand Slam tournament.
He was one shot behind in the company of Tom Hoge just behind the Northern Irishman.
At Kiawah Island, the 24-year-old golfer finished eighth last year, thanks in part to an excellent final round.
This time, he was quick to jump into the fray and collect three birdies for his first four pennants.
His putter often rewarded him for clamping nearly half a dozen putts over 20 feet.
“It’s very nice on days like this. It was a little weird because of some tee-offs in the middle of the round, but I think my six birdies came from outside the green.
“I am very happy with the score,” he added. A score of 66 opening a major I would take anytime. †
Three golfers follow at -3, including Justin Thomas, winner of the 2017 edition at Quail Hollow.
Spieth’s Grand Slam will wait
Jordan Spieth has solved some of his momentum problems from the past few seasons. But his weapon of choice, his putter, really hasn’t cooperated in too long. The American who wants to finish his Grand Slam career did not play badly in the opening round. His short game is an important part of his score of 72 (+2). Spieth made 33 putts with a strangely icy tool despite the 35 degrees Celsius and scorching sun on Thursday. On this season’s PGA Tour, the 28-year-old golfer is ranked 175th in strokes won on the board with a putter in hand. In fact, he even loses feathers thanks to his ratio of -.334. As has often been observed, especially in Augusta, putts six feet and under have become his hobbyhorse. The PGA of America Championship trophy is the only one missing from his majors collection. Even if it is still early, it is believed that this conquest will wait another year.
A wide Diet Coke
We’ve known for 30 years that John Daly, winner of the 1991 PGA Championship, is a real character. Recall that during the 2015 edition, he threw his stick into Lake Michigan after several erratic shots on a par 3 of Whistling Straits. On Thursday, the 56-year-old golfer with his mane and large graying beard, his greenish polo shirt and his ultra-colored pants led the tournament in the morning. He eventually handed a 72 (+2) card. Four bogeys on his last five pennants have dropped him in the standings. Again he drove his cart to avoid the track. The magazine colleague Golf summaryShane Ryan noted that the man had placed a large glass with the McDonald’s logo on it. It would be a first serving of Diet Coke!
None of the three Canadians managed to break par on Thursday. Mackenzie Hughes suffered on a lap of 77 (+7). Corey Conners got a first score of 76 (+6) while Adam Hadwin beat him by three strokes.