Golf-McIlroy heads out early at Pinehurst with share of U.S. Open lead


  • Golf
  • Friday, 14 Jun 2024

Jun 13, 2024; Pinehurst, North Carolina, USA; Rory McIlroy plays his shot on the eighteenth fairway during the first round of the U.S. Open golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports/ File Photo

(Reuters) - Second-round action at the U.S. Open got underway at Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina on Friday with overnight co-leader Rory McIlroy heading out early with hopes of inching closer to an elusive fifth major title.

The Northern Irishman, whose last major triumph came at the PGA Championship in August 2014, finished the first round level with Patrick Cantlay at five under and was set to tee off at 7:29 a.m. ET (1129 GMT) from Pinehurst No. 2's 10th hole.

Clear skies greeted the early starters on what was expected to be a steamy day with temperatures reaching 94 degrees Fahrenheit (34.4 Celsius).

McIlroy will be filled with confidence after opening with a bogey-free 65. The last three times McIlroy opened with a bogey-free round in a major, he won (2014 British Open, 2012 PGA Championship, 2011 U.S. Open).

World number three McIlroy will play with reigning Masters champion Scottie Scheffler, who finished the first round six shots behind in a share of 34th place, and PGA Championship winner Xander Schauffele, who is five back and tied for 16th.

Cantlay, who closed his opening round with three birdies over his final five holes to set the early pace and earned his first share of the lead after any round of a major, will head out at 1:25 p.m. from the first tee.

Ludvig Aberg, the Swedish sensation who finished runner-up at the Masters and is making his U.S. Open debut this week, is one shot behind the co-leaders and will be following Cantlay's threesome around the course.

Bryson DeChambeau, one of 12 LIV Golf players in the 156-player field, is two shots off the lead and level with Frenchman Matthieu Pavon, who is looking to become the first U.S. Open champion to win in his debut since Francis Ouimet in 1913.

DeChambeau, who won the 2020 U.S. Open, will head out in the sixth group from the first tee while Pavon will set off with the late starters on the back nine.

DeChambeau is one of four players to finish inside the top 10 in the first two major championships of the year, including at last month's PGA Championship where he was one shot shy of forcing a playoff with Schauffele.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; editing by Clare Fallon)

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