Inconsistency on the green leaves McIlroy feeling blue

Thu Nov 28, 2013 3:06am EST
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By Nick Mulvenney

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Rory McIlroy is driving as well as ever but his putting let him down on Thursday when he ended the first round of the Australian Open seven shots behind leader Adam Scott after shooting a three-under-par 69.

The world number six's problems since changing his equipment this year have been well documented and he arrived at the Royal Sydney Golf Club this week still searching for his first title of 2013.

After Scott's brilliant round, McIlroy's chances of success in Australia already appear remote and the Northern Irishman was left ruing four missed short putts that could have made a huge difference to his score.

"Missed three or four short ones out there," he told reporters after signing for his card.

"Wasteful, yeah. I felt it could have been a lot lower. Off the tee, I'm driving the ball the best I ever have, it's just a matter of being more efficient and scoring better.

"That's really it. I only played the par-fives at one-under and the way I'm driving it, I should be playing those at four-under."

A missed birdie putt at the seventh and three-putt from the edge of the green at the 16th were the most obvious wasted opportunities, while a pair of bogeys shortly after the turn halted his momentum after a solid front nine.

INCREDIBLE YEAR   Continued...

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland holds his ball on the second green during the third round of the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai November 16, 2013. REUTERS/Caren Firouz