|-8 R McIlroy (NI); JT Poston (US); -7 M Laird (Sco), Xander Shauffele (US); -6 P Cantlay (US); C Howell (US); W Simpson (US); -5 C Davis (Aus); M NeSmith (US); -4 W Clark (US); H English (US); H Lebioda (US); W McGirt (US); K Mitchell (US)|
|Selected others:-3 S Power (Ire); C Tarren (Eng); M Wallace (Eng); -2 S Scheffler (US); -1 Tommy Fleetwood (Eng) E L Donald (Eng); D Willett (Eng); +2 R Fowler (US); +5 J Spieth (US)|
Rory McIlroy and JT Poston shot opening eight-under 62s to share the lead at the Travelers Championship.
World number two McIlroy went bogey-free in his first round at TPC River Highlands to continue his recent run of strong form.
Xander Schauffele and Scotland’s Martin Laird are a shot back in Connecticut.
McIlroy came into the event having finished tied for fifth at last week’s US Open – his third top 10 major placing of the season.
He said the course at River Highlands was a welcome relief after the challenging layout of Brookline for the US Open.
“It’s like the anti-US Open here,” said the Northern Irishman.
“It’s like US Open rehab coming here. You’re like, ‘Oh, I can actually make some birdies. This is nice’.”
McIlroy has secured top 10 finishes in five of his last six events, which included a successful defence of his Canadian Open title.
In the opening round of the Travelers he continued to find joy on the greens, holing a 47-foot putt to make birdie on the par-four seventh.
Three more birdies followed on the back nine including one on the 18th as he took an outright lead into the clubhouse.
World number 162 Poston also went bogey-free, making six birdies in the opening nine holes.
“I feel like my scores and my results may not have shown that the last few weeks or months, but I felt like I was getting close, and I’ve been working hard at it,” Poston said.
“Today was kind of one of those days where it finally clicked a little bit.”
Sitting one shot behind Schauffele and Laird are American trio Charles Howell III, Webb Simpson and Patrick Cantlay in third, while Matthew NeSmith and Australia’s Cameron Davis are a further shot back on five-under par.
Callum Tarren and Matt Wallace were the best of the English players, finishing on three under alongside Ireland’s Seamus Power.
Three-time major winner Jordan Spieth shot a five-over 75, mixing four birdies with five bogeys and two double bogeys.