Rory McIlroy, Chris Riley tied for lead after first round of Memorial

Rory Mcllroy showed Thursday why he has chosen the Memorial Tournament as one of the only three regular PGA Tour events he gets to play this year.

Mcllroy has already made the Muirfield Village course one of his favorites. But more than that, his final eight holes included a birdie putt, with half of them converted as he went to share the lead with Chris Riley with a 6-under-66 after the first round.

While he missed three birdie putts inside eight feet, he was able to shot 32 on the front nine because of his pure shot on the ball.

“A great way to start the tournament,” McIlroy said.

The 22-year old Mcllroy from Northern Ireland ended up in a tie for 24th even as he narrowly made the BMW PGA Championship cut. “It’s about 30 degrees warmer,” was his reply when asked about last week different with this week.

A large group at 68 followed Josh Teater and Chris DiMarco at 67 including Memorial 2010 runner-up Rickie Fowler, Stewart Cink, Dustin Johnson and Steve Stricker. Out of the 120-man field, fifty-one players broke par.

The slow start of world number one player Luke Donald was recovered as he ended his round at 70, after making four consecutive birdies. Donald played with four-time major champion Phil Mickelson and Masters champion Charl Schwartzel with 72 each.

Riley took advantage of the smooth greens and relied on his putter heavily when he started to play in the morning.

“The less I think, the better I play,” Riley said. “And today, I didn’t have time to think. The pace of play was so good and I didn’t stand around and think about shots. I just played golf.”

This is Mcllroy’s last tournament before the U.S Open where he has a chance to win on one of America’s stronger courses.