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Miserable day for McIlroy at Memorial

ESPN staff
May 30, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Rory McIlroy made a bright start but suffered problems throughout the day © Getty Images
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Memorial Tournament leaderboard

World No. 2 Rory McIlroy made a miserable start to the Memorial Tournament in Ohio after the Northern Irishman carded a six-over 78 to finish 13 shots off clubhouse leader Charl Schwartzel.

Defending champion Tiger Woods began his quest for a sixth title with a round of one-under 71, collecting five birdies but four bogeys along the way.

McIlroy kicked off the day on the back nine in confident style with a birdie on his first hole after putting from 22 feet. However, he encountered problems with short putts on the 12th as he recorded a double bogey on a simple par-3.

McIlroy's woes continued on the following hole when he failed to save par from eight feet, and with it the confident beginning soon disappeared. Two more bogeys to complete his first nine holes saw McIlroy tumble down the leaderboard.

The 24-year-old found the water with his approach shot on the second hole on the front nine, and dropped yet another shot for his mistake. And on the third par-4 lightning struck twice for the Northern Irishman as he was hit with another penalty stroke for landing in the water.

Only a second birdie of the day arrived on the fifth hole as McIlroy stroked in from 14 feet, and a solid par on the next hole saw the world No. 2 slightly recover. But, the curse of the bogey was to strike for a sixth time - excluding the double - as McIlroy missed par from 10 feet.

"I'll head to the range and practice most of the afternoon," McIlroy said after a terrible day on the course. "I need to shoot something like 66 or 65 to probably make the weekend. That will be the target tomorrow, try to shoot the lowest score possible and see what happens."

Schwartzel is the current leader on seven-under after the South African fired a round of 65 to top the standings by one shot.

Schwartzel was on course to open up a healthy lead when he arrived to his penultimate hole. However, with 10 birdies so far to his name, all of his work was undone with a double bogey.

Scott Piercy is one shot off Schwartzel, and Justin Rose was the best-placed Englishman in the opening round as he carded a two-under 70. Luke Donald is one-over, while Lee Westwood hit a four-over 76.

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