WORLD No1 Rory McIlroy admitted the mental strain caused by a hectic schedule had impacted upon his opening round of the PGA Championship at Wentworth yesterday.
McIlroy began his title defence by carding a one-under-par 71 to lie six shots adrift of Italy’s Francesco Molinari, who headed the leaderboard.
The 26-year-old is bidding to claim his third victory in four events, having followed his WGC-Cadillac Match Play title with a seven-shot triumph at Quail Hollow on Sunday, but was blighted by three bogeys.
“I am feeling myself getting a bit angry out there which I haven’t been doing over the last few weeks,” said McIlroy, who is playing in the fourth of five successive competitions.
“I just need to stay in control of my emotions because if I’m a little tired, a little fatigued mentally, I’ll start to be hard on myself and start to get down on myself. I need to keep everything on an even keel out there.”
Englishman Chris Wood, who tied third in the 2009 Open Championship, upstaged McIlroy with an opening round of 68, while countryman Tommy Fleetwood also finished in the top 10 after a three under 69.
Three-time Major winner Padraig Harrington completed just two holes before succumbing to a shoulder injury and withdrawing, while the same fate befell Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher, who failed to overcome a wrist injury.
Franceso Molinari (ITA) -7; Robert Karlsson (SWE) -5; Jorge Campillo (ESP) -4; Chris Wood (ENG) -4; Miguel Angel Jimenez (ESP) -4; Yang Yong-eun (KOR) -4; Marc Warren (SCO) -4; Pablo Larrazabal (ESP) -3; Tommy Fleetwood (ENG) -3; Nicolas Colsaerts (BEL) -3; Peter Lawrie (IRE) -3; Thomas Bjorn (DEN) -3