Former British Open golf champion Rory McIlroy was encouraged by his one-under-par opening round of 71 at the WGC-Cadillac Championship on Thursday despite a late double bogey which left him five shots adrift of the leaders.
McIlroy was using his new “crosshanded” putting method in Florida after struggling on the greens in recent months and it looked to be have made a difference during the opening nine holes as he sank several birdie putts to move near the top of the leaderboard. However, he struggled to make the same impact later in the day and was left to rue a number of missed chances. His woes were compounded further by a double bogey six on the final hole after he found from the water from the tee.
The Northern Irishman remains of hopeful of great run over the weekend but admitted that he needs to tidy up aspects of his game including his approach play and putting. “I felt like I played pretty solid actually,” McIlroy said. “I made a couple of mistakes, but apart from that I felt ball-striking wise it was a good day. It’s always disappointing to end the way I did. I just need to get out there tomorrow and try and pick up those shots quickly again and try to start from there.”
American Scott Piercy and Australia’s Marcus Fraser both shot six-under-par 66s to lead the event by one shot. Three time US Masters champion Phil Mickelson also enjoyed a fruitful day in the sunshine after posting a five-under-par 67. There are a number of other big names in the mix too with last week’s PGA Tour champion Adam Scott, Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth, Jason Dufner and Rickie Fowler all within four shots of the overnight leaders. England’s Danny Willett also started well with a four-under-par 68.