US Open Golf: Rory McIlroy targets fast start at Pebble Beach to end major drought

Former champion Rory McIlroy, aiming to halt a streak of three missed cuts at the US Open, is looking for a solid start on Thursday in the third major of the year at Pebble Beach.

 US Open Golf: Rory McIlroy targets fast start at Pebble Beach to end major drought

Rory McIlroy hits out of the bunker on the 10th hole during a practice round for the US Open. AP

McIlroy, who finished tied for 21st at the Masters and tied for eighth at last month's PGA Championship, said slow starts — a one-over 73 in the first round at Augusta and a two-over 72 at Bethpage Black — left him too much work to do in his bid for a fourth major title and his first since he won both the Open Championship and PGA Championship in 2014.

"My first rounds at Augusta and Bethpage this year just sort of put me a little bit behind the eightball," McIlroy said. "And it's hard to catch up.

"Especially, major championships are played on the toughest courses, and you start to chase on those really tough courses, it's hard to do that.

"The majors that I've won, I started every single one of them really well, rounds in sort of the mid-60s. I think that's what's held me back a little bit."

The 30-year-old Northern Ireland star, who won the US Open at a rain-softened Congressional in 2011, has finished in the top 10 in 10 of the 12 tournaments he has played in this year.

In addition to a victory at the Players Championship, he arrived at Pebble Beach off a runaway win in the Canadian Open, where he fired a final-round 61 on Sunday for a 22-under total and a seven-shot victory.

McIlroy, who could become the first player to win the US Open immediately after notching a US PGA Tour title, said it would be "liberating and satisfying" to end his major drought on the course where Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell won the US Open in 2010.

However, he cautioned that momentum doesn't necessarily carry over from one tournament to the next.

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Updated Date: Jun 13, 2019 10:22:32 IST