McIlroy battles with swing changes, shoots 71 at French Open

FILE - In this Saturday, June 18, 2016 file photo, Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, watches his tee shot on the ninth hole during the rain delayed second round of the U.S. Open golf championship at Oakmont Country Club, in Oakmont, Pa. McIlroy says he will not be competing in the golf tournament at the Rio de Janiero Olympics because of concerns over the Zika virus, it was reported Wednesday, June 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)
Charlie Riedel/AP

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France (AP) In the midst of drastic changes to his swing, Rory McIlroy shot a level-par 71 at the French Open to lie five shots off the lead held by Lucas Bjerregaard midway through the first round on Thursday.

McIlroy, currently in the spotlight because of his decision to skip the Olympics over concerns about the Zika virus, had four birdies and four bogeys around L'Albatros course at the Le Golf National, the 2018 Ryder Cup host.

The fourth-ranked McIlroy said, ''I've got about four or five swing thoughts out there at the minute, so that's why I'm sort of happy with 71.''

Bjerregaard shot a 5-under 66, helped by a hole-in-one at No. 2 from 202 yards. The Dane was playing with a new set of clubs after his own was lost in transit.