Rory McIlroy Cards Sublime 65 Despite Final Hole Whiff At US Open

The Northern Irishman holed a good bogey putt on the final green to avoid disaster after a superb start to his US Open

McIlroy salutes the crowd holding his ball after holing a putt at the 2023 US Open
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy skipped his pre-championship press conference and any chatter of golf's big merger to focus on his day job this week at the US Open, and the early signs are that it has worked to perfection.

The four-time Major winner, the PGA Tour's 'de-facto spokesperson', cut a quiet figure this week at Los Angeles Country Club and did his talking with his golf game on Thursday to post a 65 (-5) despite a whiffed chip shot in the rough on the 18th hole.

McIlroy knew he had to get off to a fast start with the historic 62s shot by Rickie Fowler and Xander Schauffele in the morning, and his first shot of the US Open went 382 yards straight down the middle that led to a simple birdie on the par 5 opener to set the tone for the day.

Another birdie followed on the 2nd thanks to a tidy wedge shot and a 12 footer that dropped in the center of the cup.

On the 1st and 2nd holes he hit the longest drives recorded of the day on each and started a Major with back-to-back birdies for the first time in his career. A third birdie came quickly at the 5th before arguably his shot of the day at the long par 3 7th.

From 258 yards, the Northern Irishman struck a perfect, high draw with a 4-iron that nestled to within 3ft. It was the easiest of birdies to put him four-under after seven and he'd pick up another shot at the par 5 8th.

He was out in 30 (-5) for his best ever opening nine in a Major championship, and after a solid run to start the back nine he reached six-under with another fine putt at the short par 3 15th. 

By this point he had hit 15 out of 15 greens, with his first missed green coming at the next where his wedge shot came up a yard shy of the putting surface.

He made a solid two-putt and then rocketed a drive down the tricky 17th to set up his 16th green in regulation in 17 holes and another simple par.

He once again piped a drive down the 18th but his approach just missed the green left into the thick rough. So tough was the lie, he completely 'whiffed' the first attempt with his wedge sliding right through the bermuda and under the ball.

He chopped the second effort a good 10ft past, and the Northern Irishman managed to compose himself and find the bottom of the cup for a dropped shot and one that will have been a huge relief.

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland reacts to his putt on the tenth greenduring the first round of the 123rd U.S. Open Championship

McIlroy is three back after 18 holes thanks a 65 (-5)

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Despite dropping a shot on the last, he will certainly be carrying some momentum into Friday after a near-disaster finish on Thursday evening.

Scoring was low on Thursday at LACC and McIlroy managed to keep up with the leaders. He's only three back after 18 holes and looks set to challenge into a Major weekend once again to try and end his nine-year Major drought.

An exciting three days to follow.

Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news team as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as five Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays off of a six handicap. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2

Hybrids: Titleist 816 H1

Irons: Mizuno MP5 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Srixon Z Star XV