Dual eagles help McIlroy's cause at Riviera
February 13, 2020
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
Rory McIlroy eagles twice in three holes at Genesis
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. – Two eagles in three holes can certainly change ones fortunes.
FedExCup champion Rory McIlroy was treading water in the opening round of The Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club until he was able to kick start things with the mighty big birds.
Having started on the 10th hole, McIlroy bogeyed the par-4 12th and sat one over through seven holes before reaching the par-5 17th. A huge drive and following 3-wood from 289 yards away found the putting surface before the two-time FedExCup champion buried a 35-foot putt.
Despite making a bogey at the 18th, McIlroy turned to the par-5 1st and hit his 7-iron approach shot to four feet, 11 inches to claim his second eagle in quick time.
It is just the fifth time in McIlroy’s PGA TOUR career that he has managed to secure two eagles inside one round and helped push him to a 3-under 68 – one of the better scores from the opening wave of competition. He was inside the top five of morning finishes, four shots back of Matt Kuchar’s hot 64.
“Eagle on 17 was sort of what started everything,” McIlroy said post round. “Very sluggish start. I made a good up-and-down for par on 10. I should have birdied 11 and then sloppy three-putt on 12. After that I needed to get up and down on 13, 14, 15, 16 just to save par.
“None of us really got it going early on, but then you have 17 and then the first hole in a space of a few holes so you can make some red numbers there, which I was able to do. I thought I drove the ball pretty well. Just a few more greens (is needed tomorrow).”
Great conditions at Riviera ensured the greens are getting tougher as the day goes on, something not lost on the Northern Irishman ahead of his second round on Friday afternoon.
“The afternoon tomorrow is going to play a lot different than how it played this morning; it's going to be dry again and the course is going to firm up,” he said. “It's going to keep getting trickier and you're going to have to really think your way around this place. I'm looking forward to that.”
Previously McIlroy sported two eagles in the third round of the 2014 Open Championship (won), the first round of the 2014 Memorial Tournament Presented by Nationwide (T15), the final round of the 2016 Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by Mastercard (T27) and the second round of the 2019 Farmers Insurance Open (T5).