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June 7 2012

10:20 PM

McIlroy (68) in better position

Back on track

Rory McIlroy said his 2-under 68 on Thursday was the best he's played in quite a long time.

Rory McIlroy hit just half of his greens and less than half of his fairways in the first round. Still, the reigning U.S. Open champ – who will defend his title next week – shot one of the better rounds in the morning wave, a 2-under 68. "I felt like that was about the best round of golf I played in awhile," said McIlroy, who has missed three cuts in his past three events. "It could have been a lot better. ... The scoring doesn't look too good. Off to a decent start, definitely. 2-under is a decent start. Definitely so. Lot of good signs out there." Give credit to his putter. McIlroy twice saved par by making putts outside of 8 feet. He also rolled in a 16-1/2 foot birdie putt and another one from just inside 10 feet. No surprise that McIlroy was effective from that distance – he ranks inside the top 20 on TOUR in putting from 5-15 feet and 15-25 feet. McIlroy has also been working on his swing plane. He saw progress on Thursday. "Definitely. I'm getting the club in a better position," he said. "From there you have a little bit of freedom. You're not trying to protect against a bad shot. You're trying to hit the shot you can see. Yeah. I still feel like it's improving but it's getting (better)." So will McIlroy snap a streak of three straight missed cuts and stay around for the weekend? We'll see. What do you think? Click here to replay McIlroy’s round
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