McIlroy leads, Hend 4th at US Open

With the final round Masters meltdown no doubt still fresh in his mind as he teed off today, Rory McIlroy managed to put all that behind him with a spectacular 6-under par round of 65 to take a three stroke lead in to day two of the 2011 US Open at Congressional Country Club.

The man who went on to claim the green jacket that week, South African Charl Schwartzel, is sitting in equal second place alongside 2009 US PGA Champion, Y.E. Yang. Australia’s Scott Hend lies just one stroke back at 2-under par.

McIlroy was understandably pleased with his bogey-free first round, coincidentally the same figure he opened with at the Masters back in April.

“It was a good round of golf. I didn’t really put a foot wrong. The only mistake I made was missing the green on 14, and I held a nice sort of 15-footer for par there. Apart from that it was pretty much stress-free golf.”

McIlory was quick to thank Jack Nicklaus for his first round form after receiving valuable advice from the world’s greatest golfer.

“I spoke briefly with him at the Memorial a couple weeks ago. He said to me, there’s going to be a lot of pressure on you, but you’ve got to put a lot of pressure on yourself early.”

“That’s what he always did. He always put a lot of pressure on himself to do well. Yeah, he didn’t really threaten to beat me up, but I think I could take him now; he’s a little old.”

Queenslander John Senden closed the first round at 1-under par and sits alongside eleven others in equal 10th place.

Aaron Baddeley and Jason Day are at even par and in a tie for 22nd place.

Despite having Tiger Woods’ caddie, Steve Williams, on the bag today, Adam Scott failed to match his spectacular showing at the Masters in April.

The South Australian slumped to 62nd place following a roller-coaster round littered with seven bogeys and four birdies.

Pre-tournament favourite Phil Mickelson also failed to live up to expectations and sits alongside Scott at 3-over. Mickelson is a five-time runner-up at the US Open.