The PLAYERS: Rory McIlroy makes historical past with legendary efficiency

Rory McIlroy joined a little bit of historical past at The PLAYERS Championship Thursday, carding a record-tying 10 birdies throughout a 7-under 65 spherical.

That locations McIlroy right into a tie atop the leaderboard with Xander Schauffele.

After a disastrous remaining spherical on the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the Northern Irishman spent the previous couple of days engaged on his sport.

“It’s in all probability been considered one of my finest days shortly, which is sweet,” McIlroy stated.

These 10 birdies tie the report for a single spherical at The PLAYERS. It’s additionally probably the most McIlroy has made in 641 days, courting again to the ultimate spherical of the 2022 Canadian Open, per the Athletic’s Justin Ray.

Solely 4 different gamers have made 10 birdies in a spherical, with the newest being held by Justin Thomas when he gained right here in 2021.

Placing has been considered one of his weak spots lately, however he leads the sphere up to now after choosing up 3.593 strokes on the greens.

His strategy sport was additionally a lot improved, which is one other factor he has prioritized. The 2019 PLAYERS champion picked up 3.778 strokes in his strategy sport— the second-best within the area.

He started his day on the again 9 with three straight birdies. The four-time main winner added three extra birdies to his scorecard within the subsequent 5 holes earlier than he dropped a shot on the 18th.

McIlroy bought again to 6-under on the par-5 2nd after making a tap-in birdie. His eighth circle on the scorecard got here on the 4th, with one other to comply with at six.

He dropped a shot on seven, the place he recorded a double-bogey. That gap included a prolonged dialogue between him, Jordan Spieth and Viktor Hovland, on the place he ought to drop after hitting the ball into the water off the tee.

McIlroy returned to 7-under on the ninth when he made that historic tenth birdie from 17 toes.

“It was disappointing to not get that up-and-down on 7, however that’s in all probability why I give it somewhat mini-fist pump on 9 to really feel like I bought a type of pictures again,” McIlroy stated.

McIlroy’s fist pump says all of it. He was thrilled along with his spherical regardless of hitting into the penalty twice. To make 10 birdies on TPC Sawgrass is just not a straightforward feat.

“It will be good to shoot 62 and never have two within the water, I suppose,” McIlroy stated.

The previous few years have seen him wrestle on Day 1 of this occasion and put him in a gap. McIlroy gained’t have to try this this week.

“It goes again to I didn’t have many expectations on the market right now as a result of I used to be like, ‘Okay, feels good on the vary and feels good in follow, however let’s see how it’s if you’ve bought a card in your hand,’” he stated. “There’s one thing to be stated for that, form of lessening the expectations and going on the market and seeing what occurs.”

McIlroy will look to construct off that 65 Friday as he tees off alongside Hovland and Spieth at 1:40 p.m. ET.

Savannah Leigh Richardson is a golf workers author for SB Nation’s Enjoying Via. For extra golf protection, you should definitely comply with us @_PlayingThrough on all main social platforms. It’s also possible to comply with her on Twitter @SportsGirlSL and Instagram @savannah_leigh_sports.

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