AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE
MEMPHIS: Reigning US Open champ Rory McIlroy fired a five-under 65 to seize a one-stroke lead at the $5.6 million St Jude Classic on Friday, snapping a string of three consecutive missed cuts.
McIlroy birdied three of his last four holes to equal his lowest PGA Tour round of the year. He also had an eagle, five birdies and two bogeys. McIlroy is competing in Memphis in order to tune up his game before heading to San Francisco for his US Open title defence at The Olympic Club. He rolled in a birdie on 18 to vault ahead of three players at the TPC at Southwind.
Jeff Maggert shot a two-under 68 to move into a share of second at six-under. Maggert shared the first-round lead with John Merrick. Maggert was joined in second by J.B. Holmes (64) and Kevin Stadler (65). Merrick fired a one-under 69 and is in fifth place at five-under-par 135. He is tied with Chad Campbell (67) and Kevin Kisner (66).
McIlroy is playing St Jude for just the second time after deciding a couple of weeks ago that he would head to Memphis in order to get in some extra competition ahead of the US Open. McIlroy missed the cut last week at the Memorial. He hadn’t broken par in his previous three starts, two on the PGA Tour and one on the European Tour. He missed the cut in all three starts.
McIlroy is hoping to become the first player to win a PGA Tour event then follow up the next week by taking the US Open. But he is trying not to think too hard about that heading into his third round.