Rory McIlroy believes his strong opening-day showing at the US Open will help him to stay relaxed as he chases a first major title since winning this event in 2014.

The Down native will tee off today (6.27pm Irish time) just two shots behind leader Justin Thomas after a superb 67 on day one at Winged Foot.

"I think at a US Open, if you can get off to a good start, you're not chasing as much," he said. "And when you chase on US Open golf courses, that's when you can start to make mistakes and compound your errors.

"To have that sort of cushion, to be a little bit more relaxed about your play, not take on too much, be able to still play conservative golf, I think that's important here.

"It gives me a little more confidence in my game, maybe a little more commitment with my swing off the tee, not guiding it as much, really being able to free-flow and make good, committed swings. Hopefully that sets me up to do that over the next few days."


McIlroy was one of just 21 players to go under par in what was a punishing first round for most of the field. He expects the course to play just as tough today.

"It was one of those rounds I felt like could have been a little lower than it was, but at the same time 67 is a really good start," he said.

"I don't think the greens need to get any faster with how slopey they are, but they can certainly get them a touch firmer.

"I wouldn't call it scoreable by any stretch of the imagination. There are a couple of guys that have went a little lower than maybe was expected, but it's not as if the rest of the field are finding it that easy.

"I put the ball in play much more than I have done in the previous few weeks. That bodes well.

"Hopefully I can keep that going over the next three days, and that's what you need to do around here, just keep it in the short stuff, and then the greens are still receptive enough where you can give yourself some chances."

Graeme McDowell

Graeme McDowell admitted he has "a lot of work to do" today to make the cut.

The 2010 US open champion bounced back from a double bogey on his fourth hole to be just one over by the turn but dropped shots on five of the last eight to finish on +6.

The Portrush man is four shots off the current cut mark after what was a punishing first round but he said the course had been "slightly more benign than I expected" and put the blame firmly on his driving.

"The greens are pretty receptive," said McDowell. "But you must drive the ball well, simple as that. You have to be in the fairway off the tee to have a chance.

"I kind of hung in there well the front nine. Had it 1-over, birdied 9, hit a great shot on 10 to 12 feet,missed that, and made a bogey with a wedge in my hand on 11, and then just couldn't get it in the fairway after that."

"I missed the 12th fairway, I missed the 14th fairway, I missed the 15th fairway, I missed the 16th fairway, missed the 17th fairway. I made the mistakes that you just can't make out here really, which is not getting the ball in play off the tee. I've got a lot of work to do.

"The golf course was kind of there for the taking as far as Winged Foot was going to be there for the taking this morning, but like I say, just kind of reset and try and get back out there, see if I can't sneak in for the weekend and do a little damage on the weekend."

Offaly man Shane Lowry is also on six over after a fine start (birdie-birdie) quickly unravelled while Cork amateur James Sugrue is eight over, which is still one shot ahead of five-time major winner Phil Mickelson. 


(Irish times. Players US unless stated, (a) denotes amateur)

Hole 1

1150 Taylor Pendrith (Can), Richy Werenski, Renato Paratore (Ita)
1201 Jim Herman, John Pak, Thomas Pieters (Bel)
1212 Michael Thompson, Andrew Putnam, Chesson Hadley
1223 Marc Leishman (Aus), Bernd Wiesberger (Aut), Cameron Smith (Aus)
1234 Lee Westwood (Eng), (a) James Sugrue (Irl), Bubba Watson
1245 Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eng), Daniel Berger, Branden Grace (Rsa)
1256 Kevin Kisner, Tommy Fleetwood (Eng), Abraham Ancer (Mex)
1307 Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa), Zach Johnson, Keegan Bradley
1318 Billy Horschel, Xander Schauffele, Brandt Snedeker
1329 Byeong Hun An (Kor), Shugo Imahira (Jpn), Takumi Kanaya (a) (Jpn)
1340 Danny Lee (Nzl), Mark Hubbard, Lanto Griffin
1351 Stephan Jaeger (Ger), Lee Hodges, Adrian Otaegui (Spa)
1710 Greyson Sigg, Daniel Balin, JC Ritchie (Rsa)
1721 Ricky Castillo, Brian Harman, Andy Sullivan (Eng)
1732 Tom Lewis (Eng), Preston Summerhays, Jason Kokrak
1743 Jimmy Walker, Martin Kaymer (Ger), John Augenstein
1754 Tyler Duncan, Thomas Detry (Bel), Erik Van Rooyen (Rsa)
1805 Tyrrell Hatton (Eng), Henrik Stenson (Swe), Danny Willett (Eng)
1816 Sergio Garcia (Spa), Webb Simpson, Jason Day (Aus)
1827 Rory McIlroy (NIrl), Adam Scott (Aus), Justin Rose (Eng)
1838 Ian Poulter (Eng), Patrick Cantlay, Steve Stricker
1849 Mackenzie Hughes (Can), Adam Hadwin (Can), Corey Conners (Can)
1900 Sebastian Munoz (Col), (a) Chun Ant Yu (Tpe), Justin Harding (Rsa)
1911 Dan McCarthy, Scott Hend (Aus), Ryan Vermeer

Hole 10

1150 Rory Sabbatini (Svk), Shaun Norris (Rsa), Chan Kim
1201 Adam Long, Eduard Rousaud (Spa), Mike Lorenzo-Vera (Fra)
1212 Lukas Michel (Aus), Lucas Herbert (Aus), Matt Jones (Aus)
1223 Si Woo Kim (Kor), Ryan Palmer, Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Spa)
1234 Joaquin Niemann (Chi), Sungjae Im (Kor), Cameron Champ
1245 Gary Woodland, (a) Andy Ogletree, Shane Lowry (Irl)
1256 Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Tony Finau
1307 Phil Mickelson, Paul Casey (Eng), Jon Rahm (Spa)
1318 Rickie Fowler, Matthew Wolff, Viktor Hovland (Nor)
1329 Davis Riley, Romain Langasque (Fra), Will Zalatoris
1340 Matthias Schwab (Aut), (a) Cole Hammer, Alex Noren (Swe)
1351 Paul Barjon (Fra), Connor Syme (Sco), Marty Jertson
1710 Curtis Luck (Aus), Brandon Wu, Ryan Fox (Nzl)
1721 Joel Dahmen, Rasmus Hojgaard (Den), JT Poston
1732 Chez Reavie, Sung Kang (Kor), Kevin Streelman
1743 Kevin Na, Jazz Janewattananond (Tha), Matt Wallace (Eng)
1754 Brendon Todd, Harris English, Davis Thompson
1805 Victor Perez (Fra), Paul Waring (Eng), Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Rsa)
1816 Patrick Reed, Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn), Jordan Spieth
1827 Collin Morikawa, Justin Thomas, Tiger Woods
1838 Lucas Glover, Matt Kuchar, Graeme McDowell (NIrl)
1849 Charles Howell III, Ryo Ishikawa (Jpn), Max Homa
1900 Kurt Kitayama, Robert Macintyre (Sco), Sandy Scott (Sco)
1911 Troy Merritt, Eddie Pepperell (Eng), Sami Valimaki (Fin)