McIlroy: It’s great to be back
Rory McIlroy played his first competitive round since early June at the PGA Championships in Wisconsin on Thursday.
The Northern Irishman carded a one under 71 in gusty conditions on the Whistling Straits course in his first round since tearing ligaments in his left ankle.
The injury saw McIlroy miss his title defences at The Open Championship and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
“Ankle feels great, it’s felt great all week, it’s obviously not an issue and I think you can see how I’m hitting it out there, I can go after it and I have full confidence in it,” revealed the world number one on europeantour.com.
The four-time major winner opened his account at the PGA Championships with a three-putt bogey, but cancelled it out with a birdie on the second. Three birdies and two more dropped shots would see McIlroy finish on one under, five strokes off leader Dustin Johnson who took advantage of the still conditions earlier in the day.
“It was a game of two nines, really, just trying to hold on the front nine and then there was a few more chances on the back and I took advantage of the par fives,” added the 26-year-old.
“Great to be back, obviously, I was quite nervous on the first tee not having hit a competitive shot in about two months, I think I was always going to be a little bit nervous.”
The shot of the day for McIlroy was undoubtedly his second on the massive 602 yard par five second hole.
After an accurate drive, the eleven-time European Tour winner was still left with 287 to the pin. McIlroy pulled out his 3-wood and drilled it to within 20 feet of the flag to set up an eagle opportunity. He would two-putt for a tap-in birdie.
“That was one of the best 3-woods I’ve ever hit,” he said afterward.
“(I wasn’t) surprised…just to be fully committed to a shot like that, second hole into a tournament – I know when I start a season off, the first couple of rounds are sometimes a little bit tentative – just trying to get your way around, but that was full bore as good as I can do, especially with a wind like that. So it was a nice feeling.”
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