WASHINGTON (AFP) — Rory McIlroy, chasing a title repeat and a return to the number one world ranking spot, fired two eagles in a four-under-par 67 on Saturday to seize a one-shot lead at the US PGA Tour CJ Cup.
McIlroy picked up five strokes on the three par-fives at Congaree Golf Club in Ridgeland, South Carolina, bagging eagles at the fourth and 12th.
The four-time major winner from Northern Ireland had a one-stroke lead over fifth-ranked Spaniard Jon Rahm, South Korean Lee Kyoung-hoon, and American Kurt Kitayama.
“The golf course definitely played tougher,” McIlroy said of the par-71 Congaree Golf Club layout in Ridgeland, South Carolina.
His CJ Cup title last year came in Las Vegas, with this year marking the third straight that the event was moved from South Korea because of coronavirus pandemic travel restrictions.
“Some of the hole locations were in dicey spots, and as the day goes on the course dries out, it just gets firmer and faster. Sometimes, when you’re out of position bogey is a decent score,” added McIlroy, who called his inward run “scrappy.”