McIlroy hits the front but punters remain weary of the Ulsterman

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We all remember what happened in the Masters but there are plenty of punters hoping the ‘McIlroy meltdown’ doesn’t come in to play at the second Major of the year.

Following advice from the great Jack Nicklaus earlier in the week, Rory McIlroy proved once again just how great a talent he is by absolutely destroying the Congressional golf course yesterday.

A bogey-free six-under-par 65 has left McIlroy three shots clear of his nearest rival and has seen the Ulsterman be backed in to 9/4 to win the US Open.

However lurking in second on three-under-par are Masters champion Charl Schwartzel and 2009 US PGA Champion YE Yang.

McIlroy was immense yesterday, hitting 17 of 18 greens in regulation while finding nine of the 14 fairways, and on this tough Congressional course, the 22-year-old made it look easy.

The similarities to his opening round yesterday and his opening round at the Masters are remarkable having opened up a three-shot lead at Augusta in April, but while we all know what happened in that final round at Augusta, we also know what happened in rounds two and three.

McIlroy consolidated his place at the top of the leaderboard in the second round with a solid 69, leaving him three shots clear of Jason Day before another solid round of 70 gave him the lead going into Sunday’s round.

The final round may not have gone the way McIlroy liked but you can’t ignore the way he played in rounds two and three and having built a lead in the US Open, we’re likely to see McIlroy remain at the top for at least the next two rounds.

If he is leading come Sunday, McIlroy will feel the weight of everyone’s attention resting on him as he looks to overcome that horrible final round at Augusta, but having been there and lived through it, McIlroy is a better player and punters shouldn’t expect a final round collapse this time around.

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Robbie Morris

Robbie studied sports journalism at the University of Gloucestershire, an establishment chosen for its proximity to Cheltenham racecourse, where he was a season ticket holder. Upon graduation, Robbie was a contributor to GolfPunk, a national magazine aimed at ridding golf of its traditionalist image, before joining the news.ladbrokes team.