Monday 26 September 2016

Rory McIlroy off to solid start - hole by hole guide to Irishman's first round of USPGA

Phil Casey

Published 14/08/2015 | 01:08

Rory McIlroy reacts to missed putt during the first round of the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits on August 13, 2015 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy reacts to missed putt during the first round of the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits on August 13, 2015 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy returned from an ankle ligament injury to defend his US PGA title at Whistling Straits this week.

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Here is a look at how the world number one fared in his first competitive round since June 21:

1st - McIlroy's drive finds the rough to the left of the fairway and although he finds the green in regulation, three putts from 60 feet result in an opening bogey.

2nd - A drive of more than 300 yards allows McIlroy to reach the green in two and a two-putt birdie gets him back to level par.

3rd - A good tee shot on the first par three leaves a birdie attempt from 15 feet, but the putt is never on line.

4th - After splitting the fairway, McIlroy hits a superb approach to 10 feet but again fails to convert the birdie putt.

5th - One of the most adventurous pars of McIlroy's career sees him find sand off the tee and the edge of a water hazard with his third shot, but the 26-year-old simply rolls up his right trouser leg, splashes the ball out of the water to 12 feet and holes for par.

6th - A poor drive into the rough leads to another missed green, but a pitch to five feet allows McIlroy to save par.

7th - Another par as a birdie putt from 25 feet comes up two feet short.

8th - McIlroy's wayward drive skips out of a bunker into an awkward sidehill lie in the rough, leading to a second bogey of the day.

9th - Bouncing back in style, a superb approach to four feet sets up a birdie and takes McIlroy out in level par.

10th - Unfortunate to find a bad lie in the thick rough after almost driving the green, McIlroy's pitch comes out almost sideways and he has to settle for par.

11th - The par-five 11th is reduced to a drive and eight iron and although the eagle putt from 14 feet misses, a tap-in birdie takes the world number one into red figures for the first time.

12th - Two putts for par from 20 feet.

13th - A poor wedge approach leaves an outside chance at birdie, but the first putt never threatens the hole.

14th - A much better chance from just 10 feet, but again McIlroy cannot convert.

15th - McIlroy fails to make the most of a lucky bounce out of a fairway bunker, hitting his approach to 15 feet but missing another chance.

16th - Finally another birdie on the card after a pitch to six feet on the par five.

17th - A contender for shot of day as a four iron on the daunting 223-yard par three finishes 12 feet away, but the putt is never on line.

18th - McIlroy is furious at pushing his approach to the last from the middle of the fairway and after a clumsy chip from the rough, a closing bogey means a one-under-par 71.

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