Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Rose blooms but McIlroy left to wilt

Rory McIlroy

Phil Mickelson delivered a clear statement of intent to Tiger Woods at Muirfield Village yesterday as he rediscovered a measure of his Masters-winning form during an impressive first round 67 at The Memorial.



Mickelson, who'll knock Tiger off the top of the world rankings if he wins this week, eased to within two strokes of early clubhouse leader Justin Rose.

The Englishman, who has registered two top-four finishes at The Memorial, bounced back from a bogey at the 10, his first, to land eight birdies in a remarkable thunder-hit first round 65 in Dublin, Ohio.

Rose played superlative golf on a becalmed, rain-softened Muirfield Village, saying patience and focus were the key on a golf course which he cautioned “can't be bullied”, advice which Rory McIlroy would have done well to heed yesterday.

The splendidly aggressive youngster was two-under par through 10 and purring into contention before hitting a brick wall, with two double-bogey sevens and a further dropped shot at the last hole of an incident-packed first round 72.

It was great to watch, albeit intensely frustrating for McIlroy himself.

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