CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Rory McIlroy’s 72 on Day 1 at the PGA Championship was just his ninth round in the 70s at Quail Hollow in 27 trips around the layout, yet the Northern Irishman didn’t sound like a man who’d just had a bad day at the office.
“If I just could have had that three-hole stretch back, but I think other than that, I played nicely,” said McIlroy, whose 1-over round left him tied for 33rd. “I did what I needed to do. Birdied the par 5s, birdied the holes that you should birdie.”
But then there was that three-hole stretch, which began with a bogey at the par-3 13th hole and was made worse by a double bogey-6 at No. 14 when his tee shot found a water hazard and he followed that with a poor chip.
Although he would fail to birdie the par-5 15th hole, it was No. 14 that marred what was otherwise a solid day. Despite the double bogey, McIlroy said he wasn’t disappointed with his decision to try to drive the green at the 14th.
PGA Championship: Scores | Live blog: Day 1 | Full coverage
“Just the execution,” he said. “I’m sure more than half the field, I would say 75 percent of the field are going for that green. I just turned [his 3-wood] over too much.”
Still, McIlroy – who has won the Wells Fargo Championship twice at Quail Hollow – was confident after playing his first 12 holes in 2 under par and staying within five strokes of the lead.
“I was hitting the ball well. I could see birdies. I can see a low one out there. It’s just a matter of not shooting yourself in the foot too often like I did today,” he said.