Completed: Cherry Hills CCSep 4-7

BMW Championship (US Tour)

Scheduled: Oct 23-26

The McGladrey Classic

Honda Classic: Rory McIlroy pleased with flying start at PGA National in Florida

Last Updated: 28/02/14 12:24pm

  • Share:
Rory McIlroy: All smiles during his opening seven-under 63

Rory McIlroy: All smiles during his opening seven-under 63

Sky Bet

Rory McIlroy made a stunning return to the scene of his lowest point of 2013 to take a first-round lead at the Honda Classic.

Twelve months after infamously pulling out at PGA National, citing toothache, the Northern Irishman shot a superb 63 to claim a one-stroke advantage after day one.

The tournament - the start of the PGA Tour's Florida Swing - has attracted most of the game's leading lights with seven of the world's top 10 in action.

It was McIlroy, the world number eight, who was the most impressive of them, shooting seven birdies in a bogey-free seven-under-par round.

American Russell Henley was second at six-under with Rory Sabbatini, William McGirt and Welshman Jamie Donaldson in a three-way tie for third at five-under.

McIlroy said: "I played really solid. I think the key around here this week is hitting fairways and greens.

Ball-striker's course

"It is ball-striker's golf course. If you can keep the ball in play and give yourself birdie chances, that is the name of the game here."

The highlights for McIlroy included a long putt for birdie at the par-four 11th and a fine bunker shot at the last to set up another birdie chance.

"Eleven is a hole, especially today with the wind into it off the right you just want to try and get out of there with a four," McIlroy said. "I hit a pretty conservative second shot, but it was nice to be able to hole that putt."

As for his closing birdie, he added: "I didn't hit a great second shot but I hit a really nice bunker shot there and I was able to finish with a birdie.

"It's a hole you want to take advantage of."

  • Share:

Related

Honda Classic 2014

Rory McIlroy: Let a great winning opportunity slip

McIlroy: I didn't deserve it

Rory McIlroy said his final round performance wasn't good enough after he lost in a play-off for the Honda Classic.

Russell Henley: Emerged as the last man standing at the Honda Classic

Henley the Honda hero

Russell Henley came through a four-man play-off to win the Honda Classic after an extraordinary finish on Sunday.

Tiger Woods: World No 1 withdrew from the final round of the Honda Classic

Woods withdraws at Honda

World No 1 Tiger Woods pulled out of the final round of the Honda Classic on Sunday.

Most Popular

Features

Wales Open guide

Wales Open guide

A preview and best bets for this week's European Tour event - the Wales Open at Celtic Manor.

European team profiles

European team profiles

A look at the 12 players who make up Paul McGinley's European Ryder Cup side for Gleneagles.

US team profiles

US team profiles

A look at the 12 players who make up Tom Watson's US Ryder Cup side for Gleneagles.