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Dublin: 13 °C Sunday 5 April, 2020

McIlroy in the hunt at Pebble Beach after shaking off early wobble

Rickie Fowler set the early clubhouse lead, but the Northern Irishman is only two shots adrift after Day 1 of the US Open.

Rory McIlroy during Day 1 of the US Open at Pebble Beach.
Rory McIlroy during Day 1 of the US Open at Pebble Beach.
Image: UPI/PA Images

RORY MCILROY IS firmly in the hunt for a first major since 2014 after Day 1 of the US Open at Pebble Beach as his round of 68 left him two shots off the early clubhouse lead.

The 30-year-old, coming off the back of Sunday’s resounding Canadian Open success, got his day off to a tricky start after a bogey on the 10th (McIlroy’s first) but bounced back to make two birdies before the turn on the 13th and 17th holes.

Down the stretch, McIlroy built on his tally for the day, moving to -3 after back-to-back birdies on the second and third holes to keep him among the chasing pack.

Scott Piercy had taken the clubhouse lead after making a blistering start on Thursday afternoon.

Piercy carded a -4 round of 67 at to be the day’s early front-runner – continuing his quest for a maiden major title having finished second in 2016.

The American birdied three of the first five holes and then eagled the par-five sixth to go to -5.

While Piercy dropped back with a double bogey on the par-four eighth, he came back to life after the turn, making a gain of the 12th and another at the 14th.

Piercy gave up a shot after three-putting from 25 feet for a bogey on the 18th.

Rickie Fowler, Xander Schauffele and Louis Oosthuizen make the early pace with their opening rounds of 66 leaving them on -5.

South African Oosthuizen’s round featured four birdies, one eagle and a single bogey, while Schauffele carded five birdies, two bogeys and a solitary eagle.

Fowler enjoyed an almost flawless round, his six birdies on the opening day was offset by a single bogey on the ninth.

US Open Golf Rickie Fowler enjoyed his time around Pebble Beach this afternoon. Source: Carolyn Kaster

Irish Eyes

Among the other Irish interest in today’s opening round, Graeme McDowell sits just one shot behind compatriot McIlroy after an opening round 69.

Coming into a week on a high after his performance in Ontario and stamping his ticket to the Open in Royal Portrush next month, McDowell enjoyed a flawless round and carded two birdies to keep him with the chasing pack.

Shane Lowry, meanwhile, knows he will have to produce something special to make the cut after his opening round +4 left him nine strokes adrift of the lead.

Double bogeys on the seventh and ninth undid any of today’s positive work, coupled with bogeys on the second and the 11th.

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