A miserable start to the tournament that included a bogey, triple-bogey and double-bogey on holes Nos. 6-8. He had to re-tee on No. 7 after hitting out of bounds and his tee shot on No. 8 found the lake alongside the fairway. Most miserable of all? He hit just one of 14 fairways.
Forget all that talk about reversing the nines at East Lake as to not finish on the difficult par-3. He birdied the new No. 9, his fourth of the opening stretch. It helps when you roll in a putt from 59 feet, 6 inches. He completed the round, good for a share of the lead, with an all-par back nine.
Talk about streaks – both good and bad – and McIlroy had them. After a bogey to start the round, he had three consecutive birdies, all 3s, on holes No. 3-5. Good. He ended the front nine with two double-bogeys on holes No. 8-9. Bad. His back nine featured four birdies in a row on holes No. 12-15. Good again.