By Ann Liguori
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Rory McIlroy continues to impress on and off the golf course.
The 22-year-old kept his chin up after the meltdown he suffered during the final round of The Masters, giving up a four shot lead, shooting an 80 that day. But the ugly residue from that collapse has dissipated. Rory took care of that by handling what could have been a highly traumatic experience with the maturity and sensitivity of a wise man, three times his age! What’s notable is how the young man from Northern Ireland showed such class and professionalism in the face of adversity.
Not only did he not shy away from media interviews that night and afterwards, he went out of his way to do them and provided insightful answers, despite his tremendous disappointment. “Hopefully it will build a little bit of character in me,” McIlroy calmly said afterwards.
And instead of retreating to regroup, he continued his hectic schedule of tournaments and in addition, even visited earthquake-torn Haiti on a charity mission for UNICEF. Talk about learning how to put your own minor problems into perspective real quick!
In the first round of the US Open on Thursday, McIlroy played with Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson, starting on the par three, tenth hole. While birthday boy Phil double bogied after his tee shot landed in the water, McIlroy birdied and went on to sink five more, no bogies, to shoot a 6 under 65.
McIlroy enjoys a three shot lead going into Friday’s second round.
It’s familiar territory for McIlroy of late. He has led or co-led in the first round in three of his last four Majors!
Afterwards, McIlroy said, “You can’t be thinking about what’s happened before, you’ve got to just be thinking about this week and how best you can prepare and how you can get yourself around the golf course.” McIlroy learned some major lessons and will be stronger and wiser from them. Golf is a game of highs and lows. The players who shine know how to deal with all kinds of results and situations. Rory is wise beyond his years and that can only help him as he navigates the ups and downs of his career.
YE Yang and Masters champ Charl Schwarzel are three back.
That’s where Luke Donald and Martin Kaymer finished. Lee Westwood and Dustin Johnson both carded plus 4, 75’s.
Defending champ Graeme McDowell joins a large group at 1 under.
But it was Rory McIlroy who stole the show on Thursday. What a joy to watch as he put on a clinic, unfazed about playing with veteran Phil Mickelson, long-hitter Dustin Johnson and obviously miles and miles away, mentally, from that Final Round at Augusta.
What’s your prediction for the US Open? Let us know in the comments below…