Published Thursday, 31 May 2012
Rory McIlroy hits his fourth shot on the par 3 12th hole during the first round. (© Getty)
At the midway point of the round on Thursday, he successfully climbed back in touch with the leaders.
McIlroy went into the tournament after missing two successive cuts for the first time in his career and handing back his world number one ranking to Luke Donald.
Following his poor start to the tournament, it looked like things looked set to go from bad to worse.
McIlroy found two bunkers and the water once at the ninth, but produced a sterling recovery with two birdies and a fifth hole eagle for a final total for the round of 71, two shots off the early leaders.
Like McIlroy, Tiger Woods showed signs of a recovery from his recent problems as he posted a two-under-par round of 70, tarnished only by a double-bogey at the par-four 18th hole.
Woods is looking for his fifth title at the Memorial but, he went to Ohio with few signs of form after finishing below 40th in each of his last three tournaments since winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.
With several leading players still to complete their rounds, four men had reached the clubhouse with rounds of three-under-par 69 - American Blake Adams, Argentina's Andres Romero and Aaron Baddeley of Australia.
Donald celebrated returning to the world number one spot with a one-under-par 71 which included three birdies and, like Woods, a double bogey on the 18th, while Vijay Singh and Jim Furyk were among those finishing for the day on level par.