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I'm glad I'm here: Rory McIlroy in contention on PGA Tour after promising opening round in Hawaii

Rory McIlroy is in contention at the Sentry Tournament of Champions.
Rory McIlroy is in contention at the Sentry Tournament of Champions.
Gareth Hanna

By Gareth Hanna

Rory McIlroy is just three shots off the lead after his opening round of the 2019 PGA Tour season.

The Holywood golfer carded a four under par 69 to trail leader Kevin Tway at the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.

Two birdies and a bogey left the wonder number eight one under at the turn but a finishing flourish with three birdies in the last four holes ensured McIlroy fired himself in contention.

"Good start," he said. "I gave myself plenty of chances. I feel like I played well and it was nice to finish with three birdies out of the last four."

McIlroy had, of course, hit the headlines before beginning his season when he branded the European Tour a 'stepping stone' as he announced his decision to play more golf than ever on America's PGA Tour, beginning with this week's season curtain-raiser.

"I've done the same thing for 11 years - I've started in the desert in the Middle East then came stateside," he explained after his opening round. "I just wanted to do something different. A lot of people have told me how beautiful it is here and what a great tournament it is. The win at Arnold Palmer, I punched my ticket here.

"I'm glad I'm here. Not everyone on the PGA Tour gets to come here every year. It's nice to get off to a good start and get myself into the tournament.

"Every year you start off with that focus and determination. You're trying to make the best, not just of the year ahead but you have to look at the big picture as well. I'm trying to plan the next five or 10 years ahead and what I want my life and career to look like.

"I've had a lot of thinking to do and I've come to the realisation that for me to base myself in the United States and play a bit more over here will be the best for me, my game and my career."

McIlroy begins his second round in Hawaii at 10pm GMT.

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