The Memorial Tournament 2014: Rory McIlroy goes low, leads at 9-under

Andy Lyons

Not even some left knee pain could slow down Rory McIlroy on Thursday and the 25-year-old is now leading the way at the Memorial Tournament.

While he's currently ranked sixth in the world rankings, Rory McIlroy certainly appears to have recaptured his No. 1 form from 2012. McIlroy shot a final round 66 to win the BMW PGA Championship last week and picked up right where he left off, blistering Muirfield Village for an opening round 63 at the Memorial Tournament. He sits atop the leaderboard, three strokes clear of the field.

McIlroy has played well all season, so the performance on Thursday shouldn't come as a major surprise. He had all facets of his game working, playing well from tee to green and putting exceptionally well. He carded four birdies on the front nine to make the turn in 32. A birdie at No. 10 and an eagle at No. 11 moved him to 7-under through 11 and put him in range to challenge a sub-60 round.

McIlroy didn't hit very many poor shots on the day, but his approach shot at No. 14 was one of them. He pulled his iron shot and was unfortunate to land in an impossible lie in the bunker. Up against the lip and buried, McIlroy didn't have a shot to the green and was instead forced to hit away from the pin, just to get a better bunker attempt.

His second attempt from the bunker wasn't very good and he settled for a double bogey, his only dropped shots of the day. He rebounded immediately, however, draining another long putt at No. 15 for his second eagle of the day. He followed that up with another birdie to move to 9-under. The round would have been impressive regardless of circumstances, but became even more so when you consider McIlroy tweaked his knee at No. 7 and played much of the round in pain. He was noticeably limping after several shots and spent a few holes rubbing and stretching his knee. After the round he said he wasn't sure what happened, but was able to stretch it out and play through it.

Assuming the knee injury isn't anything serious, McIlroy will begin the second round with a three-stroke lead. Bubba Watson is tied for second place at 6-under while Keegan Bradley is four back at 5-under. For much of the round, it appeared Phil Mickelson would be near the top of the leaderboard heading into Friday. He was 5-under through 15 before things completely unraveled. Mickelson's tee shot at the par-3 16th round the water hazard, leaving him to scramble for a bogey. It got worse on the 17th and 18th with Mickelson carding back-to-back double bogeys to come in at 5-over on his final three holes to finish even par.

Here is a complete look at the leaderboard through the first 18 holes at Muirfield Village:

Place

Player

Score

1

Rory McIlroy

-9

T2

Paul Casey

-6

T2

Chris Kirk

-6

T2

Bubba Watson

-6

T5

Keegan Bradley

-5

T5

Michael Thompson

-5

T5

J.B. Holmes

-5

T8

Hunter Mahan

-4

T8

Ryan Moore

-4

T8

Justin Leonard

-4

T11

Ben Curtis

-3

T11

Mark Wilson

-3

T11

Martin Flores

-3

T11

Kevin Kisner

-3

T11

Aaron Baddeley

-3

T11

Jordan Spieth

-3

T11

Charles Howell III

-3

T11

Adam Scott

-3

T11

Charley Hoffman

-3

T11

Nick Watney

-3

T21

Hideki Matsuyama

-2

T21

Ernie Els

-2

T21

Thomas Aiken

-2

T21

Hyung-Sung Kim

-2

T21

Nicholas Thompson

-2

T21

Scott Brown

-2

T21

Lucas Glover

-2

T28

David Hearn

-1

T28

Pat Perez

-1

T28

Josh Teater

-1

T28

Marc Leishman

-1

T28

Billy Horschel

-1

T28

Luke Donald

-1

T28

Steve Stricker

-1

T28

Jason Dufner

-1

T28

Russell Henley

-1

T28

Michael Putnam

-1

T28

Freddie Jacobson

-1

T28

Thorbjorn Olesen

-1

T28

Camilo Villegas

-1

T28

Greg Chalmers

-1

T28

Stewart Cink

-1

T28

Brendon Todd

-1

T28

Gary Woodland

-1

T45

Will MacKenzie

E

T45

Bo Van Pelt

E

T45

Scott Stallings

E

T45

Matt Jones

E

T45

Charl Schwartzel

E

T45

Carl Pettersson

E

T45

Scott Langley

E

T45

Brian Davis

E

T45

Robert Garrigus

E

T45

Brice Garnett

E

T45

David Lingmerth

E

T45

Ryo Ishikawa

E

T45

Kevin Na

E

T45

Phil Mickelson

E

T45

Kevin Stadler

E

T45

Jason Day

E

T45

Ben Martin

E

T45

Robert Streb

E

T45

Andrew Svoboda

E

T64

Russell Knox

1

T64

Jason Bohn

1

T64

George McNeill

1

T64

Vijay Singh

1

T64

Jim Furyk

1

T64

Justin Rose

1

T64

K.J. Choi

1

T64

Justin Thomas

1

T64

Kiradech Aphibarnrat

1

T64

Kevin Chappell

1

T64

Gonzalo Fdez-Castano

1

T64

Robert Allenby

1

T64

Seung-yul Noh

1

T64

John Huh

1

T64

Bill Haas

1

T64

Dustin Johnson

1

T64

Tim Clark

1

T64

Mike Weir

1

T64

Justin Hicks

1

T64

Brendon de Jonge

1

T64

Cameron Tringale

1

T64

Billy Hurley III

1

T64

Michael Kim

1

T87

Chris Stroud

2

T87

Daniel Summerhays

2

T87

Brian Harman

2

T87

Chesson Hadley

2

T87

Kyle Stanley

2

T87

Matt Kuchar

2

T87

Matt Every

2

T87

D.A. Points

2

T87

Brian Stuard

2

T87

Bryce Molder

2

T87

Brendan Steele

2

T87

Trevor Immelman

2

T87

Rory Sabbatini

2

T87

Kevin Streelman

2

T87

Jason Allred

2

T87

Justin Lower

2

T103

Steven Bowditch

3

T103

Ken Duke

3

T103

Carlos Ortiz

3

T103

Sean O'Hair

3

T103

Woody Austin

3

T103

Rickie Fowler

3

T103

Luke Guthrie

3

T110

Nicolas Colsaerts

4

T110

Roberto Castro

4

T110

Richard Lee

4

T110

Erik Compton

4

T114

William McGirt

5

T114

Stuart Appleby

5

T114

Branden Grace

5

T117

Y.E. Yang

6

T117

Morgan Hoffmann

6

T117

Martin Laird

6

120

Derek Ernst

9

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