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McIlroy off to good start in first round at Torrey Pines

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Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, hits his tee shot on the 14th hole of the North Course at Torrey Pines Golf Course during the first round of the Farmers Insurance golf tournament Thursday Jan. 23, 2020, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, hits his tee shot on the 14th hole of the North Course at Torrey Pines Golf Course during the first round of the Farmers Insurance golf tournament Thursday Jan. 23, 2020, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

AP

Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, hits his tee shot on the 14th hole of the North Course at Torrey Pines Golf Course during the first round of the Farmers Insurance golf tournament Thursday Jan. 23, 2020, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

Rory McIlroy talked before the Farmers Insurance Open began about the importance of getting off to a good start, and he certainly got that in his first round of 2020 at Torrey Pines.

The 30-year-old Holywood golfer kicked off the new year with a fine five-under-par 67 on the North Course at Torrey Pines to sit just one shot off the early lead in San Diego.

World No.2 McIlroy mixed seven birdies with two bogeys to get off to an excellent start on the easier of the two courses in play this week, where the majority of the low scoring took place in Thursday’s opening round.

Starting on the 10th, McIlroy got off to a blistering start by birdieing his opening hole, and rectified a dropped shot at the 13th with a birdie on the 14th.

Birdies followed at the 17th and 18th, and after the turn at the second, fifth and ninth, with his sole bogey on the front-nine coming on the fourth.

Finding things tougher on the traditionally tricky South Course wasn’t the case for leader Sebastian Cappelen, however, the Dane setting the early benchmark in sitting six-under in the closing stages of his first round.

On the European Tour, Graeme McDowell is level-par after his opening round at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in the UAE, five shots off overnight leader Thomas Pieters.

Open champion Shane Lowry is alongside the Rathmore man at level-par, while Padraig Harrington fared one shot better, shooting a one-under-par 71.

On the LPGA Tour, Jordanstown ace Stephanie Meadow began her season with a bogey-free one-under-par 71 in the opening round of the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio in Boca Raton, Florida.

It was a tough day for Slieve Russell’s Leona Maguire, however, as she shot an eight-over 79 on her LPGA Tour debut.

In the Octagonal Match in Spain, Malone clubman Matthew McClean helped Ireland top their group, setting up a final against England this afternoon.

McClean will tee it up alongside Keith Egan (Carton House) in the morning foursomes against Maxwell Martin and Sam Bairstow, before facing Joe Harvey in the afternoon singles.

Belfast Telegraph