Rory McIlroy's bid for a first win of the season got off to a slow start today as light rain greeted the early starters in the first round of the Irish Open.
McIlroy won five times last year, including his second major title in the US PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, but has struggled to reproduce that form in 2013. The 24-year-old finished 41st in the US Open at Merion a fortnight ago and yesterday apologised for throwing a club and bending his nine iron out of shape during a final round of 76.
The nine iron - one of the Nike clubs he controversially changed to in a multi-million pound deal in January - has since gained a new shaft, but McIlroy's putting was more the problem as he dropped two shots in his first three holes.
Starting from the 10th, the world number two missed short putts to bogey the 11th and 12th before hitting back with a birdie on the short par-four 13th.
At one over par he was three off the early lead shared by English duo Mark Foster and Paul Waring, Australian Andrew Dodt and American Tyler McCumber, son of former US Tour player Mark McCumber.