McIlroy and Cantlay share the lead at the U.S. Open

Rory McIlroy carded a brilliant, bogey-free 65 to join Patrick Cantlay at the top of the leaderboard after day one of the U.S. Open at Pinehurst.

The World No. 3 won his first Major Championship at this event in 2011 and has since added three more but the last of his victories in one of golf’s big four came almost a decade ago.

He spoke on his arrival in North Carolina of being “as close as I’ve ever been” to ending that drought and he certainly lived up to that confidence over the notoriously difficult No. 2 Course as he moved to five under.

American Cantlay had set the target earlier in the day with six birdies and a bogey to sit one shot ahead of Swede Ludvig Åberg and two clear of countryman Bryson DeChambeau and Frenchman Matthieu Pavon.

Cantlay, U.S. Open
Cantlay is looking to win his first Major title

McIlroy, who started the 2011 U.S. Open, 2012 US PGA Championship and 2014 Open with a bogey-free round and went on to win all three, said: “I went through a run there for a while where my starts at Major Championships weren’t very good.

“Probably got myself a little too worked up at the start of the week.

“But back to the (US) PGA I opened with a five under there at Valhalla. Even going all the way back to this tournament last year, I opened with a low one. It wasn’t quite as low as Rickie (Fowler) and Xander (Schauffele), but it was nice to open up with a low one and feel like you’re right in the tournament from the first day.

“Certainly the Major Championships that I’ve won or the ones that I’ve played well at, I’ve always seemed to get off to a good start, and it’s nice to get off to another one.”

Cantlay Aiming For First Major Triumph

Starting on the tenth, Cantlay holed a bunker shot on the 11th but gave the shot back after missing the green at the par-three 15th.

A gain from 17 feet on the 18th was followed by a stunning approach to the first before he made a two-putt birdie on the fifth, holed a 21-footer on the sixth and put another excellent approach to four feet at the eighth.

“Got off to a good start, bunker shot on 11,” he said. “Played pretty solid most of the way. I thought the golf course played pretty difficult. But I drove it well. A lot of balls on the fairway. Left the ball in the right spots for the most part.”

 

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