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rory mcilroy three fairways

Three fairways hit, card a 65 – Rory McIlroy’s interesting opening day at the BMW Championship

Imagine carding a 65 and you only hit three fairways? That’s what Rory McIlroy did Thursday at Olympia Fields…

 

Rory McIlroy only hit three fairways on his way to carding an opening round 65 to tie the lead at the BMW Championship.

It was not a vintage McIlroy sort of day. The driver was not necessarily his friend on Thursday at Olympia Fields.

However, he said that there were advantages to not being in the fairway this week.

“I mean, only hitting three fairways today and coming up with 65 is a bit of a bonus,” the three-time FedEx Cup champ said.

“But with the golf course being so soft, it’s almost an advantage to be playing out of the rough going into some of these greens because you know the ball is not going to spin.

“I’m not saying I was trying to aim for the rough, but I was, I think, a lot of the tee shots I was just being super aggressive because I knew in the back of my mind I wasn’t really being penalized for it.

“The golf course is certainly not playing the way it played in 2020. That was not my approach a few years ago here. But hopefully with the wind and the sun, the golf course starts to firm up a little bit and starts to play a little bit more like how I think it should play.”

The soft conditions at the 2023 BMW Championship helped the four-time major champion on the opening day.

His five-under-par 65 tied for the lead alongside Champion Golfer of the Year Brian Harman.

His strategy though was not to be completely free with the driver, as the North Course at Olympia Fields does not warrant that mentality.

“There’s a few courses on Tour where you can sort of swing away at it and know if you miss the fairway you’re usually going to be okay,” McIlroy continued.

“It’s not as if — I rode my luck a little bit. I got decent lies in the rough, and from there I was able to get club on the ball and control my distance okay.

“Going into the next three days, I’d love to hit more fairways.”

Despite only hitting three fairways all day on Thursday, the Northern Irishman won’t be changing his plans for the rest of the week.

“I don’t lose a lot of confidence with the driver,” he added.

“One bad day is not going to make me lose any sleep.”

The BMW Championship is the second event of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. The PGA Tour season concludes next week with the Tour Championship at East Lake, a venue McIlroy has had plenty of success at.

NOW READ: Will Zach Johnson take Justin Thomas to the Ryder Cup

What would you card around Olympia Fields if you only hit three fairways like Rory McIlroy? Can McIlroy go on to win a fourth FedEx Cup title? Let us know with a Tweet!

Matt Coles

Matt Coles

Mention a European country, and Matt will tell you which resorts make the National Club Golfer Top 100s: European Resorts list. He might even throw in who designed the golf course and how many rooms the hotel has got at each one…

Matt got into the game of golf from a young age, following his old man to the local golf club. He fell for the sport, and now can’t seem to go a day without thinking about how to improve his game (Thanks Dad!). Matt has been a member of Howley Hall GC in Leeds since 2020, and is just about managing to maintain a single-figure handicap. He likes to remind people that he once broke 75, but won’t tell people that it was on a shortened course during the winter.

He moved to Leeds after graduating from the University of Central Lancashire with a First Class Honours degree in Sports Journalism. Matt joined NCG after almost five years travelling the world with the Professional Squash Association, working on events in all four corners of the globe.

Matt currently plays a Cobra King LTDx driver and RadSpeed 3-wood. TaylorMade monopolise the rest of his bag, with a SIM UDI, M5 irons and both Milled Grind and HI-TOE wedges, along with a Monza Redline putter. He uses a Vice Pro Plus golf ball, because he’s a bit different…

Away from golf, Matt is a Manchester United fan, and a keen runner, having ran the Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon (his first and possibly last), in May 2023.

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