A very public breakup over his long time girlfriend, Caroline Wozniacki, didn’t distract Rory McIlory enough to prevent him from winning the 2014 BMW PGA Championship. And a bum knee didn’t slow McIlroy down enough to prevent him from taking a three shot leading heading into Friday at The Memorial.
After six holes, McIlroy was -2 for the tournament. Then on the 7th hole, McIlroy hit his second shot approach shot and after his swing he came up a bit gimpy. He was limping around and his left knee was clearly bothering him and causing him some discomfort.
McIlroy was limping around and trying to stretch out his knee for the rest of the round, but it didn’t effect McIlroy’s game in any negative way as he ended up birding the 7th hole and finishing up the front nine by birding the 9th hole.
On the back nine, McIlroy continued that momentum by birding the 10th, eagling 11, birding 13, eagling 15 and birding 16. He did though double bogey 14 as that halted his momentum temporarily.
Bubba Watson, Chris Kirk, and Paul Casey all finished up early in the day at -6 and all three are continuing their stellar play this season and of late. One quick note about Watson; In Bubba-like fashion he dominated the par 5’s. He played the par 5’s at -4. If Bubba wins, it’ll be because he tore up the par 5’s.
Keegan Bradley is in the thick of things as he birded 6 holes and only bogeyed one hole (the 9th hole) to finish the round at -5. Hunter Mahan, who for consecutive weeks had a very good opening round, had a bogey-free round and is tied for 8th at -4.
Adam Scott started strong, he was -4 after 8 holes, but his second shot got wet which caused him to double bogey the 9th hole. Scott ended up birding one more hole (the 11th) and finished the round at -3 tied for 11th.
Jordan Spieth continues his theme of being right in the thick of things. Spieth was two under after 7 holes, but back to back bogeys on 9 and 10 brought him back to even, but Spieth birded 11, 14, and 15 to fight his way back to -3 for the round.
Ernie Els: The Big Easy hasn’t had a very good year, but after a first round 70, Els finds himself at a tie for 21st in a spot where he could potentially contend this weekend.
Luke Donald had a very good round going until a double bogey on the par 5 15th put a bit of a damper on it. Donald was 3-under going into 15, but a double bogey knocked him down two shots and that’s where he would finish. One-under for the round in a tie for 28th.
Jason Day had a quiet round just knocking some rust off and playing behind the shadows of his playing partners McIlroy and Scott. Day birded 5 and 14 and bogeyed 6 and 17 for a nice, quiet, even round day.
Phil Mickelson was -4 going into the back nine, but a final three hole stretch of bogey, double bogey, double bogey erased all that good work. Mickelson finished the round at even tied for 45th.
Jim Furyk, Justin Rose, Bill Haas, Dustin Johnson, K.J. Choi, Russell Knox, John Huh, Seung-Yul Noh, Cameron Tringale, among others, all stuck at one over par after round one.
Matt Kuchar had a very un-Matt Kuchar like day. Kuchar was up and down all morning. Kuchar found the water on the 11th hole and ended up double bogeying that hole. Kuchar birdied 14 and 16, and bogeyed 16, but then Kuchar found more trouble on 18 where his tee shot landed in a fairway bunker, his next shot went into another fairway bunker, then got it out into the round and before you knew it he put up a six on 18.
Kuchar ended up bogeying the third hole to put himself in a big +4 hole, but Kuchar battled back and birdied 5, 6, 7 to get himself back to +1. Kuchar ended up bogeying the par 3 8th hole and ended up +2 in a tie for 87th.
It looked as though Rickie Fowler found his game in late April with a solo 6th finish at Houston and a T-5 the very next week at Augusta, but it looks as though for the third time in five tournaments Fowler won’t make it to Saturday, and for the fourth time in five tournaments he won’t be in the field on Sunday. Fowler sits at a tie for 103 at +3.