McIlroy shows iron will after carding quadruple-bogey on horror 10th hole in Ohio
23:47 GMT, 31 May 2012
Rory McIlroy appeared well on his way to turning a blip into a crisis when he scored a quadruple-bogey seven, his worst ever score on a single hole on the US Tour, in his first round of Jack Nicklaus’s Memorial Tournament.
How about that for the worst possible start when seeking to bounce back after two successive missed halfway cuts, with the defence of your US Open title less than a fortnight away
Back in the swing: Rory McIlroy recovered well from his seven on a par three
Starting from the 10th on a picture perfect morning in Ohio, the Northern Irishman began decently enough with a couple of pars. But a pulled tee shot into the back bunker at the par-three 12th left him badly out of position and sparked a litany of errors.
On the hole modelled on the short 12th at Augusta, McIlroy’s bunker shot was over-hit and finished in the water hazard at the front of the green. Now he had to walk back over the bridge from whence he came to the drop zone, where his recovery finished in a bunker at the front of the green. An average sand shot was followed by an equally mediocre putt, leaving him to hole a four-footer simply to avoid an eight.
So what do you think happened next Anyone plumbing the same murky depths as the internet trolls would have expected him to fold up his tent and move along quietly, in the direction of his next event in Memphis.
What actually occurred was a visible demonstration of the pride of the world No 2. In last position after three holes, McIlroy bounced back so spiritedly he finished up with a one-under-par score of 71 to finish on the same mark as playing partner Luke Donald, one stroke behind Tiger Woods, playing in the group behind.
Playing partners: Luke Donald and McIlroy on the 10th
The highlight came at the par-five fifth, where his second shot finished just short of the green and he chipped in for an eagle three. ‘Walking off the third green at four over par I was thinking, “Here we go again”,’ said McIlroy. ‘But I hung in well and I’m proud of the way I fought back.’
Asked afterwards about his rivalry with world No 1 Donald, McIlroy added: ‘I’ve got an awful lot of other things on my mind at the moment, like hitting fairways and greens again, and I saw some good signs today. Now it’s time for another afternoon on the practice range, to tease out some of the bad faults that have crept in.’
Donald’s round was not without its wayward shots either. He hit it into the water at the 18th but, like McIlroy, rebounded well on his back nine. It’s never easy playing the following week after a big win and the Englishman admitted his ball striking was poor by his standards. As so often, though, his golden putting touch came to the rescue for a score that leaves him firmly in contention.
The long walk: McIlroy recovered from a quadruple-bogey to end the day on one under
‘Hopefully that is my loose round out of the way, because I didn’t hit the ball well,’ said the 34-year-old, who successfully defended the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth last week. ‘But I scrambled very well and I am certainly happy with my total.’
Woods was happy, too, after his 70 kept him in the running.
Rival Phil Mickelson fared less well, however, withdrawing from the event citing mental fatigue following a shocking 79, his worst round at Muirfield Village.
Leading the way was fellow American Scott Stallings, who shot 66 to finish the first round at a highly-impressive six-under.