Holmes takes control at Doral, McIlroy cards a 73

Thu Mar 5, 2015 6:22pm EST
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

(Reuters) - American J.B. Holmes made light of the daunting Blue Monster course as he fired a sizzling 10-under-par 62 to seize a commanding four-shot lead in the first round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship in Miami on Thursday.

While world number one Rory McIlroy recovered from a dismal start to open with a one-over 73, the long-hitting Holmes piled up an eagle and eight birdies to take control of the first of the year's four elite World Golf Championships (WGC) events.

Despite blustery conditions on a fast-running layout at the Trump National Doral Resort, Holmes delivered a near-perfect exhibition of course management as he stole the limelight from a high-calibre field including every player in the world's top 50.

Fellow American Ryan Moore double-bogeyed his last hole, the par-four 18th, after finding water off the tee to card a 66 while Frenchman Alexander Levy and Americans Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler opened with 68s.

"We game-planned it," Holmes, a three-times winner on the PGA Tour, told Golf Channel after getting up and down from a greenside bunker to par his final hole, the par-three ninth. "I hit all my shots where I needed to.

"I hit great putts, hit great shots and my tee ball was right where I wanted it to be. I really didn't have that many bad swings.

"I had a couple of bad swings with the driver and I made birdie on those two holes so I was able to get out of it just fine. It was a great day and you don't get those very often."

Holmes eagled the par-five 12th after hitting a six-iron from 226 yards to within a foot of the cup for a tap-in putt.   Continued...