by Jeff Skinner
The last time we saw Rory McIlroy at The Honda Classic he was walking off mid-round as his game had left him and his agent said he had a toothache. Well, yesterday we saw the Rory McIlroy that has already won two majors and ascended to world number one.
McIlroy shot a bogey free, seven under 63 that has him leading The Honda Classic by a stroke. McIlroy has expelled the demons that haunted him last year and is in a more comfortable place. “Coming in this week, I knew that I was playing well and I just wanted to try and get off to a good start. … Regardless of what happened last year or where it is, it’s always nice to shoot a round like this and get yourself in the mix early.”
McIroy did have the low round of the day but the “moral victory” of the first round had to go to Zach Johnson. Johnson survived a tragic quadruple bogey on the par four tenth hole on only his second hole of the day. He plopped two balls in the water on his approach and limped away with an eight.
Johnson has the reputation of being a bulldog on the course and he lived up to that reputation yesterday. Faced with being four over par after just two holes, Johnson did what he does best, play great golf.
On a monster of a course he hit 79% of the fairways and 89% of the greens in regulations. Over the next sixteen holes he carded seven birdies to salvage a three under 67 and finished tied for eleventh.
Yes, he’s still four strokes off the lead but it’s testament to his doggedness that he is still in the mix.