RoMac is back with a -5 round 1 in US PGA

Rory in action - US PGA 2012

David Cannon/Getty Images

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Mm, Rory McIlroy – remember him?  The guy who burst onto the scene a couple of years ago, culminating with a sensational 8-shot victory at the US Open?  Well he’s doing it stateside again, with an exceptionally impressive first round in South Carolina on day one of the 2012 US PGA Championship.

The majors have not been the greatest of events for the Northern Irishman this year, it has to be said.  Fortieth has been his highest finish in Augusta back in April; he only just scraped into the top 100 at the defence of his US Open Championship title and mustered only 60th at the Royal & Ancient last month.

Yet whilst everyone over The Pond has been questioning his lack of podium finishes, he’s still in the top three of the OWGR and fifth in the Race to Dubai.  Okay, recent form hasn’t matched the start of the 2012 golf season on the European Tour.  The first four tourneys returned two seconds, a third and a fifth.

He’s had to wait a long time in between for another top five finish, just last week at Firestone in the Bridgestone Invitational; the Irish Open provided the only other top ten finish (European Tour) between that burst out of the blocks and last week’s seeming return to something like world-class form.

Although they are still playing at Kiawah Island, Rory’s first round 67 looks to have put him in prime position for at least mounting a challenge.  Indeed, only Carl Petterson, at time of writing, has shot below Rory’s tally, the Swede kicking off the last Major of the season with an opening 66, -6.

The Ocean Course has some exceedingly long holes, covering over seven and a half thousand yards in all; it has been these par 5s and long par 4s that Rory has handled with aplomb, three of his birdies coming on the par 5 16th and two 440-yard+ par fours, 6 and 10.

Factor in a clean round that saw not one single bogey and the only word to describe his aura at the end of the first round is “menacing”.

Will the number one spot swap hands again before the season is out?  On this form, you wouldn’t bet against it, would you?

TTFN, Thet Watson. xxx

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Bridgestone Invitational – World Golf Championships – Results

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From the exclusive home for live World Golf Championship

…I hate it when writers begin their articles with “I told you so”.

It sounds cocky, conceited and downright flash. But, on this one occasion, I have to begin this article with “We told you so”.

Prior to the delayed start of the final round of the WGC Bridgestone Invitational, we looked at which golfers, if any, were likely to catch the leader Jim Furyk (who led for 71 holes out of the 72…D’oh!) given that his third round of par saw the earlier flashes of brilliance disappear into mediocrity – full article here on UK Golf.

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WGC Bridgestone Invitational – favourites odds at PaddyPower

Do you ever fancy a flutter on the old golf like I do?  I’m not talking huge stakes, mind – ‘er indoors only gives me so much pocket-money a week to play with.  But since the suspension of activity on, I thought I’d take over the mantle and bring you the latest odds for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

Whilst Stateside there is this God-given belief that Tiger’s going to win every time he takes to the first tee – although a few American golf pundits keeping their cleats on terra firma think he’s won three so far this season and that’ll be his lot – it seems PaddyPower is offering similar odds (9/2 compared to 5/1 across The Pond) to US bookies.

However, it would appear that those in the know at PaddyPower are also of the opinion that Tiger’s roared down the last winning fairway this season, too.  There offer is simply this: if you place your bet over your mobile phone this week and Tiger wins, they will refund the value of your losing bet by way of offering you the same stake on the US PGA Championship next week.  Darrelldoo for me!

bridgestone invitational odds paddypower

bridgestone invitational odds paddypower

But golf’s not just about Tiger Woods!

Let’s take a look at some of the other odds.

Luke Donald is second favourite at 14/1 – he’s due a win and if I had to put a first-past-the-post bet on anyone it would be the current world number one. Especially as he’s paired with Phil Mickleson – they’ll give each other a game and hopefully bring the best out in each other. Funny – Lefty’s not in the top betting here (35/1), but they’re offering thirty-threes, Stateside.

Setting off at the same time but starting on the front nine (Luke & Phil playing the back nine first) is our very own Justin Rose. It’s the first time I’ve not seen him anything like the 35/1 PaddyPower is offering – he’s been a lot shorter at eighteens all season, as far as memory serves.

And although Rory’s been a little off his best golf recently, the bookies aren’t ruling him out, pricing him 18/1 alongside Adam Scott, runner-up at The Open just a fortnight ago. And Twenties for Lee Westwood? Wow! Okay, so The Open was Lee’s worst Major finish of the season but his golf’s been so consistent all year, that’s tempting one of my £1/e/w bets, for sure!

Then to finish the rundown of bookies favourites, you have three names who’ve all made great strides on the American golf circuit this year, Hunter Mahan, Jason Dufner and Rickie Fowler. They’ve each already got at least one title under their belts on the PGA Tour in 2012 and are tempting e/w bets at 25/1.

So, with the poorly octopus my wife has given me, it’s £1 each way on Lee and Lefty and £2 on the snout for Luke. Let’s hope none of them get too tyred at the Bridgestone this weekend to make the podium on Sunday evening. (sorry – that was poor – it’s been a long week!)

TTFN, Thet Watson.