On February 4, Rory McIlroy had three more strokes in the first two holes, but still scored -1 at the end of the opening leg of the PGA Tour event at the TPC Scottsdale golf complex, Arizona.

The first time attending the Phoenix Open, McIlroy started from hole 10, par71. Right at the entry hole in par4, 348 yards long, the golfer born in 1989 had four majors reaching 348 yards, but the ball entered the wasteland.

This position leaves the second shot just 69 yards into the bunker ahead, on the left side of the green even 89 yards from the target. He escaped in the third but back into the bunker, this time on the right side of the green.

The fourth shot, McIlroy left the trap and the ball just came near the edge of the hole. Since then, he put the ball twice to finish his job at the double bogey point.

McIlroy kicked off in the 16th round of the Phoenix Open on February 4.  Photo: USA Today

McIlroy kicked off in the 16th round of the Phoenix Open on February 4. Image: USA Today

Into hole 11, still par4, 481 yards long, McIlroy into the rough grass even though the header is 310 yards. Then, he swung twice more to reach the green, about 1.5 meters from the hole. But at that distance, the former world number one put two putt bogey holes.

McIlroy got into the game at 8am, the air temperature was about 15 degrees Celsius. “It was cold this morning. I was really surprised that the 10th hole shot into the wilderness, went over 340 yards in such weather. The next hole gets stuck again after the driver hit. Then use his wedge to get the ball near the hole but the putt is broken, “McIlroy said of the strenuous entry.

And from the bottom group when the first two holes were over, the Northern Irish player started to emerge thanks to five birdies in the next 14 holes. He added a penultimate bogey and kept the last par – hole 9.

“The score is very good. It would be even better if I didn’t bogey the eighth hole,” McIlroy said. The whole round McIlroy played an average of 338.9 yards, hit 7 of the 14 fairways, went green according to the standard 11 holes.

With a score of -1, he was T50, seven strokes behind Matthew NeSmith and Mark Hubbard at the top of the group. Not rich in PGA Tour achievements, but yesterday NeSmith and Hubbard both hit 63 strokes.

Smith did not bogey, six birdies and an eagle, of which almost scored a hole-in-one in hole 16, par3-style stunt.

Hubbard scored eight birdies, nor bogey. After NeSmith and Hubbard were 47 players with a gap of six strokes. Defending champion Webb Simpson stood T108 with +2.

Phoenix Open 2021 is allowed to receive a maximum of 5,000 spectators per day, with the 16th hole alone limited to 2,000 people. This hole is the busiest in golf in the world with about 20,000 people who were not sick during the period. The opening day, the number of fans entering the field has not reached the ceiling.

“The 16th hole-in was probably the quietest of my career. At that time, I heard six applause,” NeSmith said.

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