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Rory facing uphill battle after rough start to his US Open bid

 

By Adam McKendry

Rory McIlroy will need to raise his game if he wants to avoid missing the cut at the US Open at Erin Hills this weekend.

The 2011 champion fell apart on the back nine in Wisconsin and he remains well adrift, in double figures, of leader Rickie Fowler, who produced a record-equalling start, carding seven birdies in a flawless opening seven under, 65.

That equalled the lowest score in relation to par in the first round of a US Open, Jack Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf having both shot seven under in the first round at Baltusrol in 1980.

Fowler's excellent round put him top of the leaderboard early in the day, a position he wouldn't relinquish, but World No2 McIlroy couldn't cope with the lengthy course.

The 28-year-old Holywood ace struggled with the heavy rough at Erin Hills, while his short game also let him down.

Portrush man Graeme McDowell is also in danger of missing the cut on four-over par, while defending champion Dustin Johnson was three-over par.

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