McIlroy: Today will be tougher

Rory McIlroy is expecting a tough test at the USPGA Championship today despite being just one shot off the lead at Kiawah Island.

One behind US-based Swede Carl Pettersson after starting the USPGA Championship - golf's final Major of the year - with a five-under-par 67, McIlroy was in no mood to make any bold predictions.

"We know that there's going to be a bit of wind coming in and maybe a bit of bad weather," the 23-year-old Irishman said.

"It's just something that you're going to have to deal with and I'm just happy that I got off to a great start - I have a great platform to go from.

"Hitting balls on the range there was completely no wind. It was flat calm and I really thought that I had to take advantage of the conditions.

"I'm pretty comfortable on the golf course. I played nine holes on Monday, nine holes on Tuesday and that was it.

"I didn't feel like I needed to play any more. I've got my lines off the tees and I know what it's like around the greens.

"I think that was any first bogey-free round in a while, and it's always nice to shoot a round with no bogeys.

"I've had my fair share of weeks where I've started well and had a couple of bad rounds. I think that's just golf.

"You get weeks where you're feeling good and you're playing well and you're just able to keep rolling and continue the momentum from one day to the next. Hopefully this is one of these weeks."

McIlroy worked with putting coach Dave Stockton in Akron last week, but it was more than just technical stuff.

"He sort of said to me: 'Just go out there and have fun and enjoy it and smile'. That's something that I've really tried to do and it's definitely helped."

Alongside McIlroy are another Swede, Alex Noren, Spanish Ryder Cup hopeful Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and big-hitting American Gary Woodland.

Graeme McDowell was handily placed on four-under - part of a group which also included Adam Scott, the Australian who blew the Open last month with four closing bogeys.

Tiger Woods, Justin Rose and Wales' Irish Open champion Jamie Donaldson shot 69s, while Ian Poulter and 2008 champion Padraig Harrington - both looking to move into a Ryder Cup qualifying place - had 70s.

Two late birdies helped Martin Laird to a one under 71, but Luke Donald was in the water on the 17th as he shot 74 and Lee Westwood also finished poorly and signed for a 75.

Former Open champions Darren Clarke and Paul Lawrie both had 73s like Simon Dyson and David Lynn, while Robert Rock took 76 and Paul Casey, with only one cut made since dislocating his shoulder snowboarding last Christmas, struggled again and handed in a 79.

More on this topic

McIlroy: I haven't been as good as I can be

No meltdown for McIlroy at Valhalla

Tiger 'will suffer' if he plays at Valhalla, says MontyTiger 'will suffer' if he plays at Valhalla, says Monty

Tiger still hungry for Major gloryTiger still hungry for Major glory

More in this Section

Handmade Gaelic footballer figurines back in the grooveHandmade Gaelic footballer figurines back in the groove

The science behind the photo that put a hurler on the moonThe science behind the photo that put a hurler on the moon

James Sugrue ready to fly when he finally reaches Augusta’s Crow’s NestJames Sugrue ready to fly when he finally reaches Augusta’s Crow’s Nest

Twenty years on, Cork still responding to Curaheen Park’s callTwenty years on, Cork still responding to Curaheen Park’s call


Junior Cert and Leaving Cert students mustn’t be forced to go through the motions with state exams, and we need creative thinking to find alternatives fast, writes mother and educator Ellie O’Byrne.Policy fail? Insistence that state exams go ahead in June is glib and ignorant

Yes, we all need to stay at home but that doesn't mean your children have to be bored, says Michelle McGlynnWorld of wonder: What to do with the children outdoors

Over the next three weeks, I am going to outline how you can support yourself and your family over this period of lockdown, writes Richard Hogan.Learning Points: Keeping children on a healthy and happy regime

As we are settling into our new routines of self isolation, staying at home and home schooling it feels that a whole new set of pressures is coming down the tracks.Mum's The Word: Pressure to be productive in a world of online classes

More From The Irish Examiner