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McIlroy struggles in Ohio

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Rory McIlroy struggled at the Memorial Tournament with an opening-round 78 (AP)

Rory McIlroy struggled at the Memorial Tournament with an opening-round 78 (AP)

AP

Rory McIlroy struggled at the Memorial Tournament with an opening-round 78 (AP)

Rory McIlroy's miserable run of form showed no sign of abating as he shot an opening-round 78 to finish six over par at the Memorial Tournament, while Charl Schwartzel set the pace with a fine seven-under 65 to lead by one in Ohio.

The Northern Irishman missed the cut at the BMW PGA Championship last week, and here, starting on the back nine, McIlroy had an ideal first hole with a birdie at the par-four 10th, but it was all downhill from there.

A double-bogey at the 12th heralded a woeful day, with a further three bogeys racked up before the turn. There was no respite on the front nine as he hit a further three bogeys, interspersed with a birdie at the fifth, before squandering birdies chances at the final two holes.

McIlroy's play was in sharp contrast to the fine play by Schwartzel at the top of the leaderboard.

South African Schwartzel made up for hitting a bogey and double-bogey with 10 birdies, putting him a shot ahead of Scott Piercy.

Schwartzel told pgatour.com: "I felt like I played really well, just...sort of ticking the ball over and got it to eight under. I just had a bad one on number eight, made a double (bogey). And that was the very worst I played all day."

He added on Sky Sports 1: "That was one of the best rounds of the year. I hit the ball beautifully. I shot it so well. I gave myself so many chances."

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However, it was not such a good day for other high-profile names. World number one Tiger Woods, looking for his sixth victory here, was one of the late starters but he never really got going.

The American hit a bogey on the third and his contribution from then on was decidedly mixed with five birdies interspersed with a further three bogeys, including one at the last as he finished with a one-under-par 71.

Piercy hit eight birdies - five of them consecutively on the front nine - only to drop shots at the 12th and 18th. A further shot behind were Josh Teater, Russell Henley, Charlie Wi and Kyle Stanley, with Bill Haas and Matt Kuchar tied for seventh.


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