Rory McIlroy struggles on greens, is 7 back at U.S. Open

UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. -- Rory McIlroy won the U.S. Open four years ago in record-setting fashion at Congressional Country Club. He hasn't been able to do much in the championship since that eight-stroke victory.

McIlroy, the No. 1 player in the world, opened the 115th U.S. Open with a disappointing 2-over-par 72 on Thursday, leaving him seven strokes back of leaders Henrik Stenson and Dustin Johnson.

"I played well from tee to green," he said. "I thought the course was set up fair. A score in the mid-60s was out there, as you can see with Dustin and Henrik. I thought you could be aggressive here. It's not a game of chess. I just didn't putt well enough."

McIlroy made just two birdies and had four bogeys.

A three-time winner around the world this year, McIlroy, 26, came into the U.S. Open having missed consecutive cuts in European Tour events. But that followed two victories in three starts on the PGA Tour.

He now is a combined 32 over par in his 11 U.S. Open rounds since winning in 2011.

"I hit my irons well," McIlroy said. "You are going to hit to 20, 25 feet a lot here. I just didn't take my chances when they came along. I had a couple of misreads on the greens and a couple of bad strokes. When you lose the line, you stop trusting yourself.. ... I'll go to the practice green now and see if I can figure a few things out."