BROOKLINE, Mass. – On a cool, calm Thursday played under overcast skies, Rory McIlroy was steaming on the fifth hole of his first round at The Country Club in the 122nd U.S. Open.
On the drivable par 4, McIlroy's tee shot wound up in burly, high rough rimming a bunker. He was forced to take a very awkward stance in the bunker and choke down to the shaft. And then he swatted the ball 10 yards into another bunker and took some mighty whacks at the sand in frustration.
But McIlroy collected himself and made a 13-footer for par to keep momentum on his side. He would finish out his second nine with birdies on two of his final three holes to post a 3-under-par 67 to grab a share of the clubhouse lead.
“You're going to encounter things at a U.S. Open, whether they be lies or stuff like that, that you just don't really encounter any other week,” McIlroy said. “The thickest rough on the course is around the edges of the bunkers. So I was sort of cursing the USGA.