Sublime McIlroy in tie for Dubai lead

Thu Nov 20, 2014 8:55am EST
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By Matt Smith

DUBAI (Reuters) - Rory McIlroy rattled in six birdies in an opening round six-under 66 at the DP World Tour Championship on Thursday as he showed no signs of rustiness from a six-week break to share a one-shot lead with Ireland's Shane Lowry.

World number one McIlroy started in blistering fashion. He sank a 12-foot birdie on the opening hole and picked up a shot on the second after a misjudged eagle attempt.

A lip-out from 10 feet on the third halted his charge, but he shrugged that off with a sublime tee-shot on the 245-yard par three fourth as he made it four birdies in five holes.

“You never expect to start like that, but I've been hitting the ball well for the last couple of weeks I've been practicing - it was just a matter of taking that good range play onto the course,” McIlroy, 25, told reporters.

The four-time major winner then recorded nine successive pars before picking up shots on 15 and 16. In 21 rounds at the Earth course, he has shot six-under on six occasions.

“I feel it really suits my play,” said McIlroy. “I can be aggressive with my driver and that can set me up to hit shorter irons to the greens and give myself a lot of birdie opportunities. I didn’t feel I took as many as I could have.”

STRONG FINISH   Continued...

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland watches his shot from the third tee during the first round of the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai November 20, 2014. REUTERS/Nikhil Monteiro