Golf: Rory McIlroy only gets to play three regular PGA Tour events this year. He showed Thursday why the Memorial tournament was one of them.
On a Muirfield Village course at Dublin, Ohio, that already ranks among his favorites, McIlroy had a birdie putt on his last eight holes and converted half of them on his way to a 6-under-par 66 to join Chris Riley in the lead after the first round.
McIlroy hit the ball so pure that he shot 32 on the front nine despite missing three birdie putts inside 8 feet.
“A great way to start the tournament,” McIlroy said.
Chris DiMarco and Josh Teater were at 67, followed by a large group at 68 that included Steve Stricker, Dustin Johnson, Stewart Cink and Rickie Fowler, the runner-up at the Memorial last year.
Fifty-one players in the 120-man field broke par.
Luke Donald, in his debut as the No. 1 player in the world ranking, recovered from a slow start by making four straight birdies toward the end of his round for a 70.
He played with Masters champion Charl Schwartzel and Phil Mickelson, who each had a 72. Mickelson did that without making a single birdie on the par 5s.
Alex Prugh (Ferris High, University of Washington) shot a 74.
• LSU’s Peterson wins NCAA golf title: LSU senior John Peterson won the individual title in the NCAA Golf Championships at Stillwater, Okla., and UCLA topped the eight qualifiers for the team match-play competition.
Peterson shot an even-par 72 – playing the back nine in 4 under – to finish at 5-under 211, a stroke ahead of UCLA’s Patrick Cantlay.
Pryor’s attorney questions SI report
NCAA Football: The lawyer for Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor has questioned the facts in a Sports Illustrated special report on the Buckeyes’ NCAA problems, saying the story is “90-percent wrong.”
Columbus attorney Larry James also said there is nothing out of the ordinary about the cars Pryor has driven or purchased.
Ohio State has suspended five players – including Pryor – for the first five games this fall, with another player suspended for one game for various violations.
• Justice department will meet with BCS: The Justice Department’s antitrust division will meet with the BCS this summer, following up on concerns the department raised with the NCAA about college football’s postseason format.
Bowl Championship Series executive director Bill Hancock told the Associated Press that a Justice Department attorney last week asked for a voluntary background briefing on how the BCS operates.
NFL lockout heads back to court
Miscellany: The NFL and its players completed three straight days of not-so-secret negotiations, and now head for the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis for a hearing that could prove pivotal in the nearly three-month lockout.
The three-judge panel will ultimately decide whether the lockout should continue, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and union chief DeMaurice Smith, among others, are expected to be inside the courtroom today.
• Big 12 announces tournament changes: Finishing among the top six in the regular season will be rewarded with a first-round bye in the redesigned men’s and women’s Big 12 basketball tournaments.
It’s one of the last adjustments the Big 12 had to make after Colorado and Nebraska dropped out this year and reduced the conference to 10.
• Arizona State among first-day winners: Katelyn Boyd homered, Mandy Urfer had a two-run single and top-seeded Arizona State beat Oklahoma 3-1 on the opening day of college softball’s championship event at Oklahoma City.
Second-seeded Alabama earned a 1-0 victory against California, Baylor outlasted Oklahoma State 1-0 and Florida defeated Missouri 6-2 in the late game.