Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Golf

McIlroy makes flying start

Rory McIlroy ended the first round of the Hong Kong Open in a three-way tie for the lead on six under par after David Horsey and Alvaro Quiros matched the 22-year-old's opening 64.

McIlroy was among the first groups out at Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling and collected six birdies without dropping a shot to set the early clubhouse mark during windy morning conditions. But Horsey responded with a similar effort during the afternoon, while Quiros chipped in at the 18th to also end the day six under.

The trio head former two-time winner Miguel Angel Jimenez by a stroke, with Northern Ireland's Gareth Maybin and Australian Darren Beck two back on four under.

McIlroy said afterwards: "I think, first of all, the greens are a lot firmer and a lot faster than they usually are, which makes it tougher to get the ball closer to the hole, but the wind today was a big factor.

"It swirls in these trees, you can feel it one minute downwind and the next right to left so you just have to trust where the wind is coming from. I was able to do that today, I got a couple of gusts where the ball might have gone a few yards left or right from where I wanted to but all in all, I was able to handle the wind pretty well."

After lamenting his failure to turn promising positions into more victories this season, McIlroy is keen to capitalise on a good start over the next three days.

"Just getting myself in the position is a start and there might be a couple of things I can do better to turn those top-fives into wins. I have felt this year that I've definitely let two or three tournaments slip away from me, and that's something I'm trying to work on so that doesn't happen," he added.

"As long as I get myself in these positions and start winning more regularly, it becomes a habit and hopefully I'll do it more often.

"I think it's a very encouraging sign that I'm getting these top-fives, top-threes regularly and hopefully all of a sudden I'll get on a run and maybe win a few events in a short space of time. It's just about consistency and putting yourself up on a Sunday week in and week out. All that experience has to help you in some way.

"There's still a long way to go in this tournament, I've led a lot of tournaments from the first day and I've won a couple of them, but I realise more than anyone else there's a long way to go and over 54 holes, I'll have to play very well to pick up the trophy."


From Belfast Telegraph