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Jimenez chases leader McIlroy

Rory McIlroy led the way on six under par as the first round of the Hong Kong Open entered its closing stages but Miguel Angel Jimenez was just one shot back of the Northern Irishman.

McIlroy picked up six birdies and did not drop a shot in his opening 64 to post the clubhouse lead but Jimenez looked set to threaten that mark after the Spaniard picked up five shots over the front nine at Hong Kong Golf Club.

McIlroy's compatriot Gareth Maybin was four under through nine holes after birdies at the 11th, 12th, 15th and 16th while YE Yang, Darren Beck and Kiradech Aphibarnrat were tied for fourth a shot further back.

Oliver Fisher and Richie Ramsay both signed for 68s to sit two under par but a couple of late bogeys cost Paul Lawrie as the Scot eventually settled for a 69.

Starting on the 10th, McIlroy picked up birdies at the 14th and 16th courtesy of holing mid-range putts to reach the turn in 33 before a sand wedge to inside three feet at the first brought another.

The 22-year-old moved to four under at the next and although his drive from the fifth tee found the bunker, a superb recovery allowed him to knock in a short putt for his fifth birdie of the day before adding his sixth at the next.

"It was very good, a solid round of golf, I didn't make a mistake," he said. "Six birdies and no bogeys is always a nice way to start the tournament.

"I played very solid from the first hole, hit two good shots into the 10th and made a good par there, which was probably the toughest hole we played all day. I just gave myself a lot of chances - I think I hit 17 greens and a lot of fairways - and I was able to take a few, which was nice."

Meanwhile, defending champion Ian Poulter, playing alongside McIlroy, opened with a one-over 71 as the Englishman carded two bogeys and a birdie.

Padraig Harrington was level par through eight holes as he looks to keep alive his hopes of qualifying for next week's Dubai World Championship, while a double-bogey six at the eighth saw Justin Rose struggle to four over after 11 holes and join John Daly, who carded a 74.


From Belfast Telegraph