By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
DUBLIN, Ohio -- Thursday started out well for Rory McIlroy when he drained a 23-footer for birdie on the 10th hole, which was the first he played in the opening round of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance.
Unfortunately for the world No. 2, though, the day quickly deteriorated.
McIlroy four-putted the 12th hole from 58 feet for double bogey and added three more bogeys before making the turn in 40. He did made another birdie on the front nine but it was overshadowed by a trio of bogeys before McIlroy signed for a 78.
The round of 6 over was the fifth highest of the Northern Irishman's PGA TOUR career -- and his second worst at Muirfield Village, where McIlroy shot 79 in the second round last year.
McIlroy only hit seven fairways on Thursday, with five of the wayward shots straying to the right, which he calls his "big miss," right now.
"It cost me today, obviously," said McIlroy, who missed seven greens and had a total of 33 putts, as well. "I hit a few shots, especially around the front nine in the water and stuff. Yeah, it was just a bit of a struggle out there."
McIlroy, who has three top-10s in his last four starts, feels that he's playing better then the scores indicate. He's ninth on TOUR in driving distance and fourth in greens in regulation -- but ranks 100th in strokes-gained putting.
"The last four weeks have been the same," McIlroy said. "I've missed a lot of short putts. It's probably lack of confidence more than anything else. And those are the sort of putts that are important to keep the momentum of the round going. And they're the putts that I'm not really making."
McIlroy did have a 4-footer for birdie on his last hole Thursday. But -- you guessed it -- the ball stubbornly refused to fall.
"That's sort of how it's been," McIlroy said. "The game just isn't all there at the minute. But I'm working hard and I'm trying to figure things out and hopefully they'll come around soon."
McIlroy feels like a 65 or 66 might keep him around for the weekend inwhat is expected to be his last competitive start before the U.S. Open. He admitted to being frustrated but says he's trying not to let it get to him.
"A few bad rounds of golf isn't going to ruin anything," McIlroy said. "... But I don't really have many explanations for this."