Rory McIlroy has eight bogeys en route to opening 77 at Oakmont

ByBob Harig ESPN logo
Friday, June 17, 2016

OAKMONT, Pa. -- The conditions seemingly in his favor, Rory McIlroy suffered an inglorious start to the U.S. Open, bogeying his final three holes Friday morning and opening the tournament with a 77 at Oakmont Country Club.

The 2011 U.S. Open champion, McIlroy has won all four of his major championships in soft conditions, and the rain that peltedOakmont on Thursday has softened the venerable course.

But it didn't much matter to McIlroy, the No. 3-ranked player in the world, who made eight bogeys and a single birdie.

"I wasn't able to get into any kind of a rhythm," said McIlroy, whose first round was interrupted three times because of various weather delays. "And to be honest, I was struggling with my swing in practice, couldn't really work on it [Thursday]. The hardest thing now is trying to stay positive."

McIlroy, who shot 40 over the closing nine holes, hit just five fairways and only eight greens in regulation, and he needed 34 putts. He was 11 shots behind leader Andrew Landry, who shot 66, the lowest score in the first round of nine U.S. Opens at Oakmont.

"History is history," Landry said. "I'm just playing golf."

McIlroy seemed primed for a good showing this week. He won his home Irish Open last month and was coming off a strong performance at the Memorial two weeks ago, where he tied for fourth.

He visited Oakmont on the Monday and Tuesday after the Memorial and was again on site earlier this week playing the course in conditions that did not materialize in the first round.

"I found it really difficult to adjust to the greens," McIlroy said. "They were 14 [on the green-speed-measuring device], and now they're 11 or so. It's the same for everyone."

But he wasn't the only one to struggle at Oakmont. Jason Day, the world's No. 1-ranked golfer, didn't fare much better, finishing his first round with a 76. He also had just one birdie, but was plagued by five bogeys and a double-bogey 6 at the par-4 7th.

In addition to McIlroy and Day, the road back is much longer for Masters champion Danny Willett(75) and Rickie Fowler(76). They played in the same group as McIlroy and were a combined 18 over par.

McIlroy will have to rally to make the 36-hole cut, which won't be made until after the second round is complete Saturday. Those who teed off early Thursday will not get back on the course again until Saturday. The cut will be the top 60 players and ties.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.