2022 U.S. Open first round notes: McIlroy starts strong, LIV Golf struggles


BROOKLINE, Mass. -- Rory McIlroy came into the 2022 U.S. Open as the No. 3 ranked player on the PGA Tour, and he was dialed in during Thursday's first round at The Country Club.

McIlroy is one stroke off the lead after finishing 3-under par. 

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"I'd take 67 around this golf course any day, even though I'm standing up here slightly frustrated I bogeyed the last (hole)," McIlroy said at his post-round press conference.

"It's a great start to the tournament. I felt like I did most things well today. I certainly putted well and put the ball in the right spots. I hit a lot of greens and gave myself plenty of chances. Basically everything you need to do at a U.S. Open. Overall, really pleased about the start. That's two majors in a row that I've started well. Hopefully I can keep going from here."

McIlroy, who began his round on hole No. 10, had a strong start to the round, finishing 2-under par through the first nine holes. He almost bogeyed the 5th hole but made a remarkable par save.

McIlroy was bogey-free until his 18th hole, where he lost a stroke on the Par-4 9th. But it's hard to complain about four birdies and one bogey to begin a U.S. Open, especially at a difficult course where the wind was a little more of a factor than expected.

McIlroy has stepped up as a leader for the PGA Tour in recent weeks as LIV Golf attempts to steal the spotlight and players. After winning at the RBC Canadian Open last week and starting off the U.S. Open in fine form, is McIlroy trying to make a statement with his play?


"Not really. It's been eight years since I won a major, and I just want to get my hands on one again."

Here are some other notes from the first round of the U.S. Open on Thursday:

--Canadian Adam Hadwin will enter the second round atop the leaderboard at 4-under. He shot 4-under on the front nine, including birdies on the 4th, 5th, 7th, 8th and 9th holes. After bogeying the 12th hole, Hadwin quickly responded with a birdie on No. 13.

Hadwin has three top 10 finishes on the PGA Tour this season, but none since the Valero Texas Open in early April. The only PGA Tour win of his career came in 2017 at the Valspar Championship.

He's also the fourth Canadian golfer to lead the U.S. Open after the first round. None of the previous three went on to win the tournament.

--Matt Fitzpatrick won the 2013 U.S. Amateur at The Country Club and is off to a tremendous start at the U.S. Open. He finished 2-under par. His best shot of the day came on the 12th hole when he chipped in a birdie.

He also made a long birdie putt at No. 17 to return to 3-under following a bogey on No. 15.

--There are 15 LIV Golf players competing in the U.S. Open this week.

Here's the full list: Richard Bland, Sergio Garcia, Talor Gooch, Branden Grace, Sam Horsfield, Dustin Johnson, Jinichiro Kozuma, Phil Mickelson, Jed Morgan, Kevin Na, Shaun Norris, Louis Oosthuizen and James Piot. Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed are both LIV Golf players but did not compete in the tour's inaugural event last weekend in London.

It was a mostly disappointing day for LIV Golf.

Several of these golfers struggled, most notably Gooch (4-over), Garcia (4-over), Na (5-over), Kozuma (6-over), Grace (6-over), Mickelson (7-over), Oosthuizen (7-over) and Morgan (12-over).

The only LIV players to finish even par or better were Bland (3-under), Johnson (2-under) and Piot (1-under).

--Collin Morikawa (1-under) is one of 26 players under par. A strong start in major championships has proven to be a springboard to success for Morikawa.

Morikawa is one of just four golfers who've made the cut in each of the last seven major championships. We should expect to see him near the top of the leaderboard come Sunday.

--They say golf is a game of inches. Matt McCarty found out the hard way on the 5th hole.

--It's a huge sports day in Boston. In addition to the U.S. Open, the Red Sox lost 4-3 to the Oakland Athletics at Fenway Park this afternoon and the Celtics are hosting the Golden State Warriors in a must-win Game 6 of the 2022 NBA Finals.


There were many fans at The Country Club on Thursday wearing Celtics shirts or jerseys.


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