Despite disappointing ending, McIlroy pleased with opening round at Travelers Championship

Published on Thursday, 21 June 2018 21:16


CROMWELL - It certainly wasn’t the first-round ending Rory McIlroy had envisioned at the Travelers Championship.

After three straight birdies on 13, 14 and 15 had given him a share of the lead with Jordan Spieth and Zach Johnson at 7-under, the Northern Irishman hit a snag as he approached the 18th green.

It started went his second shot landed on a drain, forcing him to drop the ball. But McIlroy’s ensuing shot was not he was looking for. The ball landed north of the pin and didn’t break as much as the world’s seventh-ranked golfer would have liked and slammed his club into his bad afterward in frustration.

He ended up with a bogey and a shot off the lead at 6-under 64, and into a three-way tie for third with Peter Malnati and Brian Harman, heading into the second round today.

Despite the less than ideal ending to the round, McIlroy wasn’t too concerned, especially after the start he had at the U.S. Open last week when he shot a 10-over 80 and then an even 70 to miss the cut for the second straight year.

“I played really well today,” McIlroy said. “I feel like the work that I did over the weekend sort of started to pay off already. It was nice to see the shots I was playing right there. Being able to work the ball both ways was something I wasn’t quite as comfortable doing last week.”

McIlroy started off his round strong, birding four of his first six holes and was able to make many of the shots that eluded him a week ago, particularly in the putting game. He even drove the ball well.

Yet as it has been over the past couple of seasons, it’s still a work in progress for the four-time major winner. He has one win this year, the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and didn’t win any events on the PGA Tour in 2017 with his last major championship coming in 2014 at the PGA Championship. He’s even gone to different instructors during that time.

“I mean, I’m trying to get back to the way I swung in sort of 2010, 2011,” McIlroy said. “It’s sort of hard because my body has changed quite a bit since then and the feelings I have. But the feeling I have right now is the feeling I had in the middle of 2009. It’s just trying to go back, and, say ‘okay, I was swinging it really well then. What was I doing? What was I thinking about? What was the focus on the swing?’ Just trying to rack your brain to recreate feelings that you had back then.”

While there were a few shots he would have liked to have back, McIlroy insists he’s still playing the way he’s played all year. The results just always haven’t been there.

“It’s nice to get off to a good start here,” McIlroy said. “But as I keep saying, I’m not playing that differently now than I did last Thursday, and it’s a 16-shot difference.”

David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or

Posted in Newington Town Crier, General Sports on Thursday, 21 June 2018 21:16. Updated: Thursday, 21 June 2018 21:18.