DUBLIN — A string of four birdies on the front nine helped propel Ryan Moore to the top of the leaderboard as the 44th Memorial Tournament began Thursday.
Making his 14th appearance at Muirfield Village, Moore played a bogey-free round of golf and tallied seven birdies to finish the day at 7-under par.
“To go bogey-free around this place is something you’re going to be happy with. It was a good, solid round of golf,” Moore said of his best effort in 49 rounds at the tournament. He sunk all 16 of his putts within 10 feet Thursday.
Moore has a career-best second-place showing in the 2007 Memorial and was five shots off the lead in a tie for 13th last year.
“I love this place,” Moore said. “It’s definitely very high on the list of my favorite places to play every single year.”
Chipping in twice and sinking a 35-foot eagle putt helped Jordan Spieth to a round of 6-under, which has him in second place. A handful of golfers sit tied in third place at 5-under.
With four birdies in his first nine holes and then a birdie and eagle five holes into his second nine, Spieth was at 7-under before a bogey on his 17th hole of the day dropped him back a shot.
“Two chip-ins certainly helped. I felt like I stole a couple early in the round to be under par, and then just kind of played the shots that needed to be played,” Spieth said. “I hit a lot of fairways, which was nice, which gave me plenty of looks at birdie, and I seemed to capitalize on quite a few of them.”
Sitting at 2-under, the same first-round score he had when he won his fifth Memorial in 2012, Tiger Woods put together a solid round despite his group being warned about slow play and put on the clock over the last eight holes.
“It was close to being easily a few more under par. It was soft enough, it was gettable and I just didn’t quite do it,” Woods said. ““I had a couple loose irons. But look at the scores, they’re all getting after it today. I was close to being out there with them.
“I just need to not make a couple loose mistakes like I did today, and it could have easily turned and shot 5- or 6-under par today.”
Defending champion Bryson DeChambeau was in the same group as Woods and was assessed a bad time on the par 5 fifth hole (the group started the morning on 10) and was in danger of being hit with a penalty.
“It’s one of those things where we’re trying to get back in position, but unfortunately the way things work sometimes … when we tried to speed up and tried to get back into it, we kept making mistakes to not allow ourselves to catch up with the group ahead of us,” Woods said.
DeChambeau finished the day two shots over par and Justin Rose, the third member of the group, ended the day three shots over.