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Rory McIlroy gets over US Open hangover with solid start

 

By William Callahan

Rory McIlroy made a good start to clearing out his US Open hangover with an opening 67 in the $6.8 million Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands in Connecticut yesterday.

McIlroy's three-under par start left him just three shots off the pace set by clubhouse leaders Johnson Wagner and Brett Stigmaier who each shot 64.

The four-time major champion likes the course and the tournament which he has never previously included on his schedule, and his performance was salve to the wounds of missing the cut at Erin Hills last week.

"You can give yourself plenty of chances around here if you hit it well off the tee. I alluded to it yesterday in the press conference. It's sort of stress-free golf.

"I shot three-under today but it could have been a whole lot better, so I'm looking forward to getting after it tomorrow and over the weekend," said McIlroy.

Earlier this week he said he was giving his mallet-head red TaylorMade Spider putter this week to prove itself, although he admitted: "It's nothing to do with the putter, it's mostly what I'm doing with it."

McIlroy's score could easily have been two or three shots better. He came really close to dropping birdie putts on the sixth and seventh holes, his 15th and 16th, as he started on the 10th tee.

"I hit some good putts today. I hit the hole five or six times, where I hit good putts and the ball didn't go in. A few of those go in and it's a different story.

"All of a sudden you're shooting in the low sixties, and you're feeling really good about yourself. I just have to stay patient, keep hitting good putts and hopefully they'll drop in."

Padraig Harrington went one better than McIlroy, registering a 66 for -4 and a very encouraging start.

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