Christian Petersen/Getty Pictures
Rory McIlroy is one step closer to the third PGA Championship title of his profession.
McIlroy paced the realm in Thursday’s opening spherical of the 2022 version of the predominant at Southern Hills Nation Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with a 5-under 65. He’s one shot clear of Will Zalatoris and Tom Hoge on the leaderboard, which may perchance even be stumbled on in corpulent at PGATour.com.
1. Rory McIlroy, -5
T2. Will Zalatoris, -4
T2. Tom Hoge, -4
T4. Justin Thomas, -3
T4. Matt Kuchar, -3
T4. Abraham Ancer, -3
Justin Ray @JustinRayGolf
Appears love this may perchance well well be the predominant time Rory McIlroy has led or co-led following a spherical in a well-known since his desire at the 2014 PGA. From 2010-14, he did that 17 assorted times.
The star-studded pairing of Tiger Woods, McIlroy and Jordan Spieth modified into as soon as the finest storyline entering play. Whereas Woods and Spieth would likely must forget their opening rounds, McIlroy assign on a degree to.
He started on the lend a hand nine with a blistering tempo correct out of the gates with four straight birdies on Nos. 12-15. Even supposing he gave strokes lend a hand with bogeys on Nos. 6 and 8 all the arrangement by arrangement of his 2nd nine, he made up for it with birdies on Nos. 2, 5 and 9.
McIlroy ended his spherical with a lengthy birdie putt to circulate forward of Zalatoris and Hoge in a becoming exclamation mark to cap a spherical that additionally saw him rob profit of scoring opportunities with birdies on every par fives.
“It modified into as soon as nice to bag off to that correct initiate and sorta support it going,” he suggested reporters. “I possess love this direction, it allows you to be beautiful aggressive off the tee when it is best to must be, so I hit somewhat a quantity of drivers available and took profit of my length and finished that off with some nice iron play and a few nice striking.”
The 33-year-old’s spectacular spherical modified into as soon as a continuation of the predominant championship momentum he constructed at April’s Masters when he ended with a final-spherical 64 to enact in 2nd quandary.
It additionally may perchance per chance well well mean effort for the leisure of the realm, as golf insider Justin Ray eminent the last three times McIlroy started a well-known with a 66 or better he received at the 2011 U.S. Originate, 2014 Originate Championship and 2014 PGA Championship.
Few golfers in historical past know extra about parlaying a like a flash initiate correct into a title than Woods, nevertheless he may perchance per chance well per chance no longer be alongside with to his 15 major championships after posting a four-over 74 on Thursday even after tallying birdies on two of his first 5 holes.
PGA TOUR @PGATOUR
Tiger rolls it in to bag to -2 pic.twitter.com/rsrSu88QD1
Here is beautiful his 2nd official PGA Tour match since he suffered well-known leg injuries in a February 2021 car smash, and he suggested reporters: “My leg is no longer feeling as correct as I would like it to be. We are going to initiate the recovery direction of and bag after it the next day.”
He additionally acknowledged of his swing: “I beautiful can no longer load it. Loading hurts. Urgent off it hurts. Strolling hurts. Twisting hurts.”
Woods stumbled on beautiful seven of 18 greens in law, which left him scrambling to save strokes all the arrangement by arrangement of the spherical. He’ll must play better beautiful to perform the in the nick rate of of prime 70 and ties, and Spieth may perchance per chance well even neutral as neatly after shooting a two-over 72 that included three bogeys in a four-hole stretch from Nos. 15-18.
Whereas that pair of famous names shall be nervous in regards to the in the nick rate of line, McIlroy’s major point of curiosity shall be preserving the lead with an spectacular neighborhood of challengers ready carefully in the lend a hand of.
Zalatoris’ four-under 66 ended with a long birdie putt on No. 9, and Hoge’s mark modified into as soon as a testament to his current consistency with 5 birdies unfold all the arrangement by arrangement of the spherical to fling alongside with beautiful one bogey.
Yet no person modified into as soon as as correct as McIlroy, who will get a arrangement to perform on his lead in Friday’s 2nd spherical.