Rory McIlroy five-putts at AT&T Pebble Beach Pro

Jonathan Hernandez
February 10, 2018

And had it not been for a 16th hole bogey, McIroy would have kept his average at an even 67 on the Pacific Ocean lined Spyglass Hill course and just a short drive north of Pebble Beach.

Americans dominate the leaderboard with Kevin Streelman and Beau Hossler leading the way after round 1 on seven under par.

Hossler heads over to Monterey Peninsula, while Johnson spends his last two days at Pebble Beach.

"I'm feeling a lot different in myself because I feel like it's the start of something and not the end of something", he said of his mood this week compared to how he felt before shutting down for three months after the Alfred Dunhill Links last October.

He said: "I've been hitting the ball beautifully". "I had two chances to win golf tournaments and I didn't", McIlroy said of his performances in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Four-times major victor McIlroy is using Pebble as the start of a busy PGA Tour campaign leading up to the Masters in April.

Johnson's game is built around his driving prowess, ranking first in SG: off-the-tee (gaining 2.225 strokes over the field) and first in SG: total.

"It's a tournament that I've always watched and I've always thought one day it would be really cool to play with my dad, and fortunately we were able to get him in and play", McIlroy said. It is the first tournament of the calendar year for Scott, who used a conventional putter having tried his old long putter at the Australian PGA Championship late last year. "I think the biggest thing for Rory is the desire part, how much do you really want it, because he has the tools to be kind of Tigeresque".

McIlroy, meanwhile, has some work ahead to make the 54-hole cut after a 74 at Monterey that included a staggering double-bogey at the par-four fifth. After all, he still owns the course record at ruthless Spyglass Hill - a 62, no less - and with four titles has won it more than anyone not named Sam Snead or Mark O'Meara. He holed an 18-foot par putt on the 10th hole at Pebble on Thursday.

After two strong performances in the Middle East recently, albeit without a victory, he is eager to make the most of his good health.

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