Rory McIlroy believes he can still make the cut at the US Open, despite a six-over-par opening round of 78.
The world-number-two eagled the second hole which was followed by two bogeys to go out in even par 36, but came back with two bogeys and two double-bogeys in 42 to leave him tied 143rd and four to five shots behind the projected cut-line.
McIlroy has only ever opened a major with a worse score once, at the Open Championship in 2013 where he shot 79, but remains positive going into today’s second round regardless of sitting 13 shots off Rickie Fowler’s lead.
“It all started so well but I don’t think I hit a fairway after the 10th. You can’t play this golf course if you’re not in position off the tee, and I wasn’t in position. Obviously, I paid the price for it,” McIlroy said.
“There was a little bit of rust and my timing was a little off. I started missing some left on the course and tried to sort of correct it on the way in and missed a couple right.
“I’ll just go out tomorrow and try to hit the fairways. If I can do that I know the course is still soft enough that I can get it close and give myself a lot of looks for birdies.
“I feel like I’m capable of making the weekend.”
After the USGA decided to remove large portions of the thick fescue rough from Erin Hills amidst complaints, McIlroy hit out on Tuesday pointing out the width of the fairways saying that if you can’t hit them ‘you should probably pack your bags and go home’.
In yesterday’s opening round the 28-year-old hit five fairways: the joint lowest in the field.
Asked whether he thought it was any kind of karma, McIlroy denied it and stuck by the statement he made on Tuesday.
“I don’t think it’s karma. They should be wide enough for me to hit into and I just didn’t hit it into them.
“It was just one of those days. I was just a little bit off,” he added.
“The injury didn’t trouble me at all; that’s all totally fine. I was hacking around in the rough out there and didn’t feel it one bit.”
McIlroy will attempt to redeem his first round blunder when he tees his second round off with Justin Rose and Jason Day at 8:24am Central.