After rescuing putter, Rory McIlroy looks for Open title

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"I hit driver. I hit it hard", he said.

"The majors that I ve won, I started every single one of them really well, rounds in sort of the mid-60s".

McIlroy, the 2011 U.S. Open victor, hopes he can start well at Pebble Beach on Thursday, saying it was the key to possible success.

McIlroy, who finished tied for 21st at the Masters and tied for eighth at last month s PGA Championship, said slow starts - a one-over 73 in the first round at Augusta and a two-over 72 at Bethpage Black - left him too much work to do in his bid for a fourth major title and his first since he won both the Open Championship and PGA Championship in 2014. "If I can take that freedom that I played with on Saturday and Sunday last week and put that into tomorrow and play with that sort of freedom and get off to a good start, I'll hopefully be right in the tournament from the get-go and stay there". "We will continue to endeavour to provide the toughest test, the ultimate test, the most comprehensive test, whatever you want to call it, and really just to create something where players' shot-making ability, mental resolve, physical stamina are tested".

"It is not lost on us this is an important week, not only for golf, this is an important week for the USGA", executive director Mike Davis said at a news conference Wednesday, the day before this year's national championship starts at Pebble Beach.

After a 77 at Oakmont in 2016, he shot 78 at Erin Hills in 2017 and 80 at Shinnecock Hills a year ago en route to a hat-trick of missed cuts.

As big names Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson prepared for their early tee times, Saunders and his playing companions, Mexican Carlos Ortiz and Australian Marcus Fraser got the major championship underway at 6.45 a.m. local time (1345 GMT).

McDowell won the U.S. Open the last time it was played at Pebble Beach in 2011, and is starting to play well again after a long, dry spell.

Another one of the 2019 U.S. Open prop bets the model is all over: Koepka bests McIlroy head-to-head for a +105 payout. I felt really good.

For the 2020 Olympics, qualification will be based on the world rankings, with the top 15 players in the rankings assured of a berth, with a limit of four golfers per country. "That was the reason for putting that extra wedge in".

He did it by ditching the 3-iron and going with four wedges in his bag, a move he made with Pebble Beach in mind. "I remember the first day I met him". It goes just a touch further than it usually does.

"This week is all about patience and just giving yourself looks and chances, playing from the fairway". I guess at that point you sort of assumed that sooner or later he was going to break through, " David Young said.

That said, he sees a low score out there and therein lies a temptation to allow frustration to creep in.

Asked if he'd be surprised to make the cut, Young quickly said, "I think my game is absolutely good enough to make the cut". You've still got to hit it close, and you still have to make putts.

Here are some notable Thursday tee times (EST).

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