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McIlroy solid in Malaysia

Rory McIlroy made a solid return to action after his Masters heartache but it is Sweden's Alexander Noren who leads the way after the opening round of the Malaysian Open at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.

McIlroy, who threw away a four-shot lead during the final round at Augusta, carded a three-under-par 69 to end the day in a tie for ninth as part of a group that includes 2010 Open champion Louis Oosthuizen.

The Northern Irishman, who had lost his clubs en route from America to Malaysia, had started brilliantly with birdies at the second, fourth and fifth. The only blemish of McIlroy's round was a bogey at the par-four 14th but he picked up another shot with a three at the 17th.

Charl Schwartzel, the man who took advantage of McIlroy's collapse to secure the green jacket, did not enjoy such a good day and could only post a one-over score of 73.

The South African started at the 10th and bogeyed the 11th, 13th and 16th before staging a recovery of shorts on the front nine by picking up shots at the second and third but that was only good enough to leave him nine shots adrift of Noren, who dropped just one shot as he secured a two-shot lead with an eight-under-par round of 64.

The Swede, another player to start at the 10th, birdies his first three holes before bogeying the 14th. But he picked up further shots at the 16th, 17th, first, third, fifth and ninth to leave him clear of Italian teenager Matteo Manassero.

Manassero had held the clubhouse lead after his 66, posting eight birdies and two bogeys and he is a shot clear of a three-strong group at five under which includes Scotland's Stephen Gallacher.

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