• WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

McIlroy five shots off Firestone lead

ESPN staff
July 31, 2014
Rory McIlroy hit an opening-round 69 © Getty Images

Open champion Rory McIlroy sits five shots off the lead after an opening-round 69 at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

In his first round since winning the Claret Jug at Hoylake earlier this month, McIlroy went one under for the day at Firestone Country Club.

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Australian Marc Leishman leads on six under in Ohio, while England's Justin Rose is one of three players in a share of second place on five under.

McIlroy was three under for his first 11 holes but needed three putts on No.3, his 12th hole, and made a double-bogey six on the eighth.

However, an excellent approach to the last allowed him to tap in for birdie from two feet.

"I got myself into trouble a couple of times but apart from that I played really solid golf," said McIlroy, who can reclaim the world No.1 spot from Adam Scott with victory on Sunday.

"I didn't want any sort of letdown - and not just these two weeks, but basically the rest of the season.

"We've got a major left this year; there's a lot of golf still left to play."

Tiger Woods shot a 68 to sit alongside Welshman Jamie Donaldson and Sergio Garcia on two under, while Graeme McDowell and Phil Mickelson are one over.

Garcia's fellow Hoylake runner-up, Rickie Fowler, lies three shots off the lead.

WGC-Bridgestone Invitational leaderboard

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