McIlroy: Highest Tour Score In 53 Weeks & Poorest Players Round In Two Years

Rory McIlroy produced his worst PGA Tour round in 53 weeks and a highest Players Championship score in two years with a horror 76 on the opening day of this year’s event.

McIlroy’s 13th appearance at the Tour’s flagship event began horribly in taking a double-bogey ‘6’ after a wild drive down the right side of the 10th hole and ended with a bogey ‘5’ at the ninth and the closing hole of his round, and in between he managed just two birdies and three other bogeys.

His score of 76 was the highest on the PGA Tour since a pair of weekend 76s at last year’s Arnold Palmer Invitational where just five days ago he was joint runner-up.

As well, McIlroy’s Sawgrass score had all the disappointment of his opening 79 on route to missing the cut in adding a 75 at the 2021 Players.

McIlroy ended his round, well down just outside the leading 130 in the 142-player event boasting a whopping $US 25m purse.

The World No. 3 was all over the place from his opening tee shot, sending his drive well right off the tee and then missing the green well left, some 60-feet left of the pin, sticking his third into a bunker and then eventually three-putting from 12-feet.

Off the tee, McIlroy hit just six of the 14 Sawgrass fairways along with just half of the 18 greens in regulation, and posting 31 putts.

There were just two birdies in his round, at the 11th or his second, along with birdie at the fourth where he holed a three-footer.

And there was also the frustration, evident at the par-5, 16th where after a drive well right and coming to rest on pine straw, McIlroy hit a stunning second shot from under trees, over a parked buggy and then clearing water, finding the front of the green from his ball rolled to behind the flag and 28-foot from the hole.

With McIlroy now putting for an eagle ‘3’, he three-putted for a par.


And when McIlroy was asked that it seemed like he was hitting out of the round all day, he agreed saying: “That’s what I said at the start. I feel like this is as penal as I’ve seen it out of the rough for a long time. I think you’d have to go back to when the tournament was played in May, when we were in Bermuda rough, for it to be as penal as that. Yeah, you don’t hit it on the fairway here, you’re going to struggle.

“After what happened on 10 to start my round, I made a good birdie on 11 and was solid enough but just missed a couple of chances.

“The three-putt on 16 was probably the one that sort of stopped any momentum. I hit a really good shot out of the pine straw there and didn’t capitalize on that, and making bogey on one (His 10th hole) and bogey on three (12th) sort of was tough to get it back from there.”

No such concern over the round for playing partners – World No. 1 Jon Rahm shooting a one-under 71 and World No. 2 Scottie Scheffler a 68 that included three birdies over his closing four holes.

And American Hayden Buckley grabbed the first ace of the week at the famed island-green par-3 17th , seeing his ball land well behind the flag and rolling back into the cup much to his enormous delight.

Buckley, starting from the 10th tee, then birdied his next two holes but gave those shots back posting two double bogeys in his closing four holes, in a round of 73.

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