RIDGELAND, SC (AP) — Tom Kim felt as a lot a spectator as a participant Thursday within the CJ Cup, amazed at how Rory McIlroy produces a lot energy with so little effort.
Kim wasn’t too unhealthy himself.
They had been the celebs of a high quality morning at Congaree Golf Membership, one in every of them chasing the world No 1 rating, the opposite a 20-year-old who’s rapidly changing into some of the standard gamers amongst his friends .
Trey Mullinax and former US Open champion Gary Woodland every had a 6-under 65. McIlroy and Kim, who performed collectively in the identical band with Rickie Fowler, had been amongst these with one other shot again at 66.
“He makes this sport really easy,” mentioned Kim, who gained two weeks in the past in Las Vegas to change into the primary participant since Tiger Woods with two PGA Tour titles earlier than turning 21. sport typically, seeing the strains he took. It was like 380 (yards) to runout and he was like, ‘Sit down!’ I used to be like, ‘Actually? Methods to sit?’ However he nearly succeeded.
“Clearly what was most essential for me in the present day was making an attempt to play my very own sport and never his line. However it was nonetheless a lot enjoyable.
McIlroy was additionally impressed, principally with the best way Kim performs at such a younger age.
They matched birdies for a lot of the day in numerous methods. An instance was the par-5 fourth gap, the place McIlroy hit a 360-yard drive that bounded alongside the agency, vast fairway and belted a fairway steel simply throughout the inexperienced. Kim was 50 yards behind him off the tee, nonetheless 64 yards from the outlet after a fairway steel, then reduce a nook on a 7-foot bunker for a birdie.
McIlroy actually confirmed his driving skill on the 366-yard fifteenth, with sand and water alongside the suitable facet of the inexperienced. He hit his drive proper to the entrance of the inexperienced, whilst Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas within the entrance group put.
“The longer I stayed on high of that tee shot, the extra doubtless I used to be going to lie down, so I simply wanted to step up and hit it,” McIlroy mentioned. “Whether or not they’re on the inexperienced or not, I needed to go.”
A number of apologies had been so as by McIlroy, minus the onerous emotions.
“He was by no means going to fly it off the inexperienced,” Thomas mentioned. “It might by no means contact us. We’re simply jealous. I’d have appreciated to the touch the inexperienced.
McIlroy must win to succeed in world No. 1 for the ninth time in his profession, and he acquired off to begin with a bogey-free run.
Kim was a greater one, capturing the pins along with his excellent iron sport and never getting as a lot as he would have appreciated along with his putter. He was tied for the lead till he acquired his tee shot on the 18th, having to play out of water and lacking an 8-foot putt.
“He did not actually miss a shot there,” McIlroy mentioned. “He is a really, very stable participant, taking part in to his strengths. Makes the identical swing just about each time. He was type of digging my mind a bit about pace coaching and I used to be like, ‘No, no, no, no.’ I feel as he will get older and possibly just a little stronger he’ll get that naturally.
“I used to be like, ‘Do not go down that highway, you are good the best way you might be.'”
It was day for thus many within the 78-man area, beginning with Mullinax and Woodland. Each had three early birdies. Mullinax already had 7 below in 12 holes when his birdies dried up. Woodland completed with two birdies.
However not everybody.
Scottie Scheffler, the No. 1 participant since late March and making an attempt to carry off McIlroy, switched putters and did not have a lot to indicate with two birdies and two bogeys for a 71.
Jordan Spieth had a 75 with a spherical that included a triple bogey and a putt he missed by 16 inches. Spieth backhanded his quick putt by the sixteenth and missed the holeshot, the weak spot in an in any other case troublesome begin to the season.
Fowler, who had the 54-hole lead in Japan final week, backtracked early when he putt 4 20 ft on the fourth gap. He had a 74.
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