US Open 2020: Rory McIlroy in Battle as Justin Thomas Leads at Winged Foot

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Rory McIlroy won the first of his four majors at the US Open -5 J Thomas (US); -4 P Reed (US); -3 R McIlroy (NI); -2 J Kokrak (US), B Todd (US), H English (US) Selected others: -1 D Thompson (USA); E M Wallace (Eng); +1 A Sullivan (Eng); +3 J ​​Rose (Eng), T Woods (USA); +4 T Hatton (Eng), T Lewis (Eng)

Rory McIlroy played his way into battle on the first day of the US Open when he finished two strokes behind early leader Justin Thomas on Winged Foot.

The Northern Irishman, who played in his first major since becoming a father last month, opened with a credible three-under-par 67 in New York.

Thomas birdied the 18th to get away from fellow countryman Patrick Reed and put the clubhouse lead at five under par.

Reed brought himself in trouble with a hole-in-one on the three thirds seventh.

World number one Dustin Johnson, six-time runner-up Phil Mickelson and defending champion Gary Woodland are among those who will leave in the later session.

McIlroy & # 39; s wife Erica gave birth to daughter Poppy two weeks ago and the 31-year-old said being a father "makes the difficult days a little easier to get over" .

The world's number four had no reason to feel discouraged as one of the morning starters, but hit the turn three under par after starting his round on the 10th tee .

McIlroy, on the hunt for a fifth major title and first since 2014, opened the tournament with a birdie and added another on 13th, completing an impressive nine-hole opening with one in the 18th.

He bogeyed the first, his 10th, but an excellent par-save putt on the second was followed by a birdie at the par-three thirds to recover within one hit of leader Thomas come.

The 2011 US Open champion then drove the sixth green to put on a long range eagle opportunity that would have put him in the lead, only to three putt and par.

McIlroy & # 39; s playing partner Justin Rose found the notoriously difficult West Course more difficult to master, as the Englishman, winner of the title in 2013, finished his opening round three above par.

] Thomas puts the clubhouse in charge

Thomas, who played alongside 15-time Grand Champion Tiger Woods, bogeyed the tricky par-three thirds to get a opening birdie, but another bird at six o'clock followed by three in a row around the corner put him in pole position.

Thomas the n had a lengthy discussion with a control officer about a bunker shot at 17 and, after being told not to change his lie, found another bunker next to the green.

The 27-year-old had an excellent haircut and used par to maintain his lead on his way to the last, where he rolled his sixth birdie of the day to get away from Reed to come .

Woods had gathered his way into an undersized bend with three consecutive birdies through the bend and after another birdie putt at noon, bounced four on the bounce, only to get to it looking lip out.

It was a card full of bogeys for the 44-year-old, who dropped eight shots, including a double bogey at the end, leaving him three over.

American Davis Thompson, who at one point climbed to four under, however, enjoyed a dream start when he hit a one-under-par 69 to become the first amateur to reach seventy broke through in a US. Open at Winged Foot since Bobby Jones, who won the tournament in 1929.

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