Knox Makes Most Of Late Memorial Call-Up

Russell Knox made the most of his late call-up into ‘Jack’s event’ in posting a four-under par 68 on the opening day of the Memorial in Dublin, Ohio.

The lone Scot in the Jack Nicklaus-hosted tournament raced to four-under par through seven holes and then bravely fought back from a horror 11thhole double-bogey and head to lunch sharing fifth place in the £stg 7.2m event.

American Ryan Moore, 36 signed for a 65 to grab the early lead as the five-time Tour winner looks to end a near three-year winless drought and capped his round with four birdies in succession from his fourth hole.

A rejuvenated Jordan Spieth muscled his way to second with a 66 that included moving to tie Moore with an eagle on his 14th but only to bogey his 17th.

It is a third event running the Dallas-born Spieth has begun to show the form that’s earned him three Majors.

Spieth said: “To shoot six-under around Jack’s place I think I have bested that once in my life, so I am very pleased.

“I managed to hit 12 of 14 fairways that a soft and while the fairways are a little wider here, you just can’t miss them.

“The key was I lined-up on some straighter lines and played tighter curves rather than what I have been doing and that has been lining-up on the edges of the fairways and try to curve them all the way back.

“So, that was good strategy today.”

Five-time Memorial winner, Tiger Woods finished birdie, bogey, birdie and birdie in a round of 70 to head to lunch just outside the top-10.

Woods said: “My round was really, really close and I was just a couple of yards away from maybe being five or six under.

“So, it could have easily flipped and I could have got a few more birdies out of my round.”

Rory McIlroy’s horror hot-and-cold season continued with the 30-year old shoot a three-over 75 that included just two birdies but also a bogey and a pair of double-bogeys.

McIlroy is making an eighth appearance in the event and his effort continues a Memorial trend where McIlroy has thrown-in a big score at least once over the four rounds.

McIlroy shot a 79 on day two to miss the cut in 2012, a 78 on day one in 2013, and also a 78 on day four in 2014 while there was his first round 74 a year ago on route to a share of eighth.

In fairness, McIlroy has thrown in a couple of low one’s including a first round 63 in 2015 and a third day 64 a year ago.

Though any thoughts of replicating those two rounds was spoilt again by the shortest club in McIlroy’s bag and handing the 30-year old the headache of 36 putts.

And the longest club wasn’t all that hot either with McIlroy hitting nine of 14 fairways.

Knox’s effort, in his sixth appearance in the event, matches a 68 he shot on day four a year ago while it’s also just the sixth occasion he’s broken 70 in now 19 rounds.

The World No. 71, who is staring at a 36-hole U.S. Open qualifier on Monday in the close-by Columbus region, capped his round with a trio of birdies from the third hole and none better than back-to-back putts of 15-feet at the second and third holes.

Knox was cruising at four-under in finding the rough with his second shot at the par-5 11th hole but in chopping out with his third, the Scot found the water guarding the green in taking an eventual ‘7’.

He immediately regrouped landing his tee-shot at the par-3 12th to just 13-inches for the start of three birdies in a row before Knox dropped a shot at the 15th.

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