Tracker: McIlroy takes three-shot lead at Memorial
Thursday, May 29, 2014
Rory McIlroy made Muirfield his personal playground on Thursday, firing a 9-under 63 behind two eagles, seven birdies and a double-bogey to take a three-shot lead at the Memorial.
McIlroy had two eagles on the back-nine to vault into the lead.
Paul Casey, Chris Kirk and Bubba Watson are all T-2 at 6 under, while Keegan Bradley, J.B. Holmes and Michael Thompson are at 5 under.
Take a look at how today's round unfolded:
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Update #10: 5:33 p.m. EDT
Sorry for the delayed update, but we had to get Jeff Rude's column on Keegan Bradley's new putter posted here.
While we were away, Rory McIlroy managed to move to 9 under, despite a double bogey at No. 14. He responded to the double with an eagle at No. 15 and a birdie at No. 16. He leads the field by three shots and still has two holes to play.
Check out his long eagle putt on No. 11:
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Update #9: 4:12 p.m. EDT
This is quickly becoming the Rory McIlroy Tracker, as he eagles No. 11 to move to 7 under and has a one-shot lead on the field – with seven holes to play.
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Update #8: 4:05 p.m. EDT
Rory McIlroy is absolutely on fire right now, moving to 5 under through 10 holes with a birdie at No. 10. He now heads to the par-5 11th with a chance to tie for the clubhouse lead.
Meanwhile, Adam Scott is being overshadowed in the same group behind a pedestrian 2 under, good for T-16 currently. The third member of this powerhouse group, Jason Day, is even par.
Check out Scott's birdie on No. 8:
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Update #7: 3:40 p.m. EDT
Don't look now ... ok, well look now ... Phil Mickelson is 4 under through nine holes. He said yesterday that he'd been working on his short game, but needed to test it in battle. Four birdies on the front nine seem to say that his game is shaping up just in time for Pinehurst.
Also at 4 under through nine holes is Rory McIlroy, who seems to favoring his knee during the round, but there isn't confirmation on anything officially wrong.
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Update #6: 2 p.m. EDT
Impressive leaderboard as the afternoon wave gets underway at Muirfield.
Bubba Watson birdied four of his final five holes to card a 6-under 66 to get into the clubhouse tied for the lead with Chris Kirk and Paul Casey.
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Update #5: 12:30 p.m. EDT
Paul Casey secured an eagle, six birdies and two bogeys for a first-round, 6-under 66 to hold the clubhouse lead at the moment.
Michael Thompson has moved into a tie for the lead through 15 holes, while Chris Kirk is also 6 under through 17 holes.
Bubba Watson has rebounded nicely from back-to-back bogeys early in his round, picking up two birdies on Nos. 5 and 7 to work his way back to 4 under, currently T-6.
Just ahead of Watson is Keegan Bradley at 5 under after the St. John's product has gone bogey-free through 16 holes.
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Update #4: 11:20 a.m. EDT
A second double-bogey of his first nine holes has Matt Kuchar at 3 over through 10 holes and in 57th place – of the 60 golfers on the course. The defending Memorial champ is coming off his second missed cut of the season.
At the other end of the leaderboard, Paul Casey and Chris Kirk are knotted up at 5 under. Casey had moved his round to 6 under with back-to-back birdies at Nos. 14-15, but his second bogey of the round on No. 16 saw him lose the solo lead.
Kirk is bogey-free through 11 holes.
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Update #3: 10:35 a.m. EDT
After an eagle at 15, Bubba Watson has posted back-to-back bogeys to fall out of the early lead and is now two shots back of three players: Paul Casey, Chris Kirk and Ryan Moore.
Of the 60 players on the course, 26 players are under par or better as the morning wave moves around Muirfield.
Roberto Castro is having the toughest time, picking five consecutive bogeys from Nos. 15-18 and then on No. 1. Castro is 6 over through 12 holes.
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Update #2: 9:55 a.m. EDT
Bubba Watson didn't leave Paul Casey in the lead for long, as the bomber makes eagle at the par-5 15th (his sixth hole of the day) and jumps to 4 under as well.
Meanwhile, a day after watching his former Alabama teammates win a second consecutive national title, Justin Thomas has had a rough start to his round, picking up a double-bogey at No. 2 and bogey at No. 3 to sit at 3 over through three holes.
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Update #1: 9:30 a.m. EDT
The first morning groups are about to make the turn, with a couple of big names at the top and bottom of the leaderboard.
Defending champion Matt Kuchar started with a par on No. 10, only to double-bogey the 11th hole to sit at 2 over through three holes.
Also over par early in their rounds: Justin Rose and Jason Dufner at 1 over.
Paul Casey is leading the way at 4 under through nine holes, going eagle-birdie-birdie on Nos. 7-9 to vault to the top of the leaderboard. Just two shots back are Hunter Mahan, Bubba Watson and Keegan Bradley, as they are all 2 under through five holes of play.
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Jack Nicklaus talked about his own game for a bit before the start of the Memorial, as well as his career majors record in pursuit by Tiger Woods and how far he might have driven the ball in his prime with today's equipment.
It’s almost 15 years ago, June 20th, when Phil Mickelson came so very close to winning his first U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2. In the end, Payne Stewart made a crucial 18-foot putt on the 72nd hole and won his second national championship. “You’ll win yours, you’ll win yours,” Stewart said in the trophy presentation to Mickelson. “Phil’s going to have his opportunity again.”
Quick poll: How many of you are betting against World No. 1 Adam Scott fresh off a PGA Tour win? Well, among our senior writers, one in three. And if there's a good week to do such a thing, it's when the previous week's European Tour winner (Rory McIlroy) and the reigning four major champions (Jason Dufner, Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose and Bubba Watson) are in the field.
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Other Tour news
Tiger Woods will not play in the 114th U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2, he announced on his website Wednesday afternoon. "Unfortunately, I won't be there because I'm not yet physically able to play competitive golf," said Woods, who is still recovering from microdiscectomy surgery for a pinched nerve in his back on March 31.
There are few sure things on the PGA Tour, but Matt Kuchar working his way past the cut is close. When he shot 72-70 at Colonial, Kuchar missed just his second cut in 14 starts – and that’s one more cut than he missed in 2013 and 2012 combined. Similarly, when he shot 71-73 at Colonial, Pat Perez missed his first cut of the 2013-14 season.