March 28, 2013 / 9:24 PM / 6 years ago

McIlroy makes poor start to Houston Open

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy tees off on the first hole during second round play in the 2013 WGC-Cadillac Championship PGA golf tournament in Doral, Florida March 8, 2013. REUTERS/Andrew Innerarity

(Reuters) - Rory McIlroy, playing for the first time since losing his world number one ranking earlier this week, got off to a shaky start at the Houston Open on Thursday where he dropped three shots over his opening eight holes.

The 23-year-old Northern Irishman, who was replaced atop the world rankings by Tiger Woods this week, struggled to find his rhythm on an ideal day for low scoring at the Redstone Golf Club in Humble, Texas.

He bogeyed the par-four second hole and made a double-bogey seven on the eighth hole to limp to the turn at three-over.

The slow start left McIlroy 11 shots off the pace after American D.A. Points fired an eight-under 64 to grab the early clubhouse lead, a stroke ahead of compatriot Cameron Tringale.

Reporting by Julian Linden in New York; Editing by Frank Pingue

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