Watch: Rory McIlroy chips in for birdie to draw closer to U.S. Open lead

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What Thursday major woes?

Rory McIlroy started strong Thursday afternoon at the U.S. Open. He birdied the opening hole at Torrey Pines’ South Course, and as the wind picked up and the course firmed, he strung together par after par for much of the front nine.

That set the stage for his highlight of the day so far. After hitting his first two shots in the rough at the par-4 seventh hole, McIlroy had 33 yards to the hole from a juicy lie behind the green. He holed it.

McIlroy, who has shot 75 or worse in four of his last six opening major rounds, turned in a bogey-free, 2-under 33.