World number four Rory McIlroy carded an opening level-par 71 at the Open de France on Thursday. He revealed afterwards that he was content with his overall performance despite mixing four birdies and four bogeys during an eventful round at Le Golf National.
McIlroy was making his first competitive start since missing the cut at the US Open in June, but a stop-start afternoon left him five shots behind early pacesetter Lucas Bjerregaard. The Northern Irishman started on the back nine and posted a fine birdie-two on the par-three 11th, but he dropped shots at the 12th and 13th following a couple of errant shots.
McIlroy bounced back with back-to-back birdies on 14 and 15, but his momentum was checked again with a bogey on 16. The 27-year-old then holed a 12-foot putt on 18 to save par and reach the turn at one-under-par, but he gave another shot back on the third after failing to get up-and-down from a greenside bunker.
There was still enough time for McIlroy to throw in another birdie and a bogey down the final stretch as he ended with a 71. Despite his topsy-turvy round, the former US Masters champion said that he was hopeful of making the cut this weekend and getting his game into shape prior to the British Open 2016 later this month. McIlroy added that he had also been working on changes to how he grips the club.
“I’ve been working on a few things and I have about four or five swing thoughts out there at the minute,” McIlroy said after the opening round. “When you consider how much I’m focusing on my golf swing and technique, I felt like I did OK today. I thought the conditions out there were pretty tricky, but there were a couple of mistakes and a couple of loose shots in there.”