McIlroy fires bogey-free 65 to share US Open lead with Cantlay

football14 June 2024 03:02| © Reuters
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Rory McIlroy © Gallo Images

Rory McIlroy harnessed the power of positive thinking to get a flawless start to his latest US Open campaign on Thursday, carding a five-under par 65 at Pinehurst as he hopes to finally break his decade-long drought at the majors.

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The Northern Irishman finished the day with five birdies to share the lead with American Patrick Cantlay, and credited his recent run of success at the tournament, including a second-place finish last year, to his mental outlook.

"I guess I've had some success by the sort of mindset that I've brought in, especially last year at LACC," McIlroy told reporters.

"The golf course is a little different to what it was last year, but still the same strategy, same mindset."

McIlroy, who won at the Wells Fargo Championship last month, told reporters this week that he felt closer than ever to collecting an elusive fifth major.

It certainly looked that way as he got off to a confident start, with his first birdie on the long and tricky par-four fourth.

He chipped one in from nearly 67 feet (20.4 metres) away for another birdie on the par-five fifth and shaved two more strokes off his score on the par-five 10th and par-four 16th, before draining a birdie putt from more than 19 feet on the final hole.

McIlroy, who has not finished outside the top 10 at the tournament since 2018, said his focus this year was on being "super stoic" and "even-keeled."

"I really feel like that's the thing that has served me well in these US Opens over the past few years," said McIlroy, who won his last major at the 2014 PGA Championship.

"Just trying to be 100 per cent committed to the shots and 100 per cent committed to having a good attitude."