Rory McIlory is struggling for form ahead of golf’s first Major of the year next week.

Northern Ireland superstar McIlroy suffered a blow this month when he was displaced as world No.1 by Jon Rahm.

His problems are mounting up ahead of next week’s PGA Championship after a poor opening round at the first WGC event since the lockdown.

McIlroy, 31, shot a three-over 73 in Memphis in the first round at the FedEx St Jude Invitational as his rivals thrived.

Starting off the 10 tee, he dropped shots at the par 3 11, where he holed a 20-foot putt for bogey, and par 3 14.

Rory McIlroy shot a three-over 73 in the first round at the FedEx St Jude Invitational in Memphis
(Image: Getty Images)

He finished at the ninth with a birdie three after he also birdied the seventh with a putt from the fringe.

But three successive bogeys from the fourth to the sixth have left McIlroy way off the lead.

It is far from ideal preparation for McIlroy ahead of next week’s PGA Championship at Harding Park in San Francisco.

Defending champion Brooks Koepka fired a superb eight-under par 62 to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the St Jude Invitational in Memphis on Thursday.

Brooks Koepka leads in Memphis after a superb eight-under par 62
(Image: Getty Images)

The four-time major winner shot six birdies against one bogey on the front nine before picking up three more birdies in a strong back nine to record his equal-lowest total on the PGA Tour.

He led from fellow Americans Rickie Fowler and Brendon Todd, who finished with a flourish with four straight birdies.

England’s Graeme McDowell was the best-placed Briton, a two-under 68 leaving him in a share of 15th place along with Ireland’s Shane Lowry.

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McDowell made three straight front nine birdies, drilling putts of 23 and 35 feet on holes seven and eight, then parred all but one of his last 10 holes, with a bogey five at 12.

Among other English players, Danny Willett was seven off the pace after a one-under 69, Matthew Fitzpatrick shot a 70, Paul Casey a 71, and Tommy Fleetwood, Matt Wallace and Tyrrell Hatton had 72s.

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