/ Golf

Rory McIlroy sets solid platform for California charge

Updated: Friday, 19 Feb 2016 09:52 | Comments

Rory McIlroy is four shots off the pace in California
Rory McIlroy is four shots off the pace in California

Rory McIlroy was content with his opening-round effort at his first ever appearance at the Northern Trust Open in California.

The world number three is this weekend looking to turn good performances into a first victory of the season.

McIlroy got that bid off to a solid start in in California, carding a four-under-par 67, and only a sublime round from Camilo Villegas left him four shots off the lead.

The Northern Irishman birdied the first, 7th, 10th, 11th and 17th holes, before recovering from a bogey on the 15th with a birdie on the penultimate hole.

McIlroy told pgatour.com: "It was a solid round of golf. It's my first time here competitively and I just wanted to get off to a decent start. There were a few opportunities on the back nine, which was the first nine, and I took advantage of a couple of them.

"I took advantage of a few chances I gave myself and 67 is a decent score."

Padraig Harrington carded a very steady level-par 71, a bogey and a birdie the only slight tremors in a consistent round for the Dubliner.

He sits four behind McIlroy, who would have been just one shot off the lead had it not been a scorching end to the round from Colombian Villegas.

Villegas struck an imperious 63 and peppered his card with birdies, including four in a row through holes five to eight. However, he blemished his round with a bogey five on the final hole which saw him miss out on the chance to equal the course record.

Chez Reavie, Bubba Watson and Luke List are tied second, with the American trio all ending the day five-under-par.

Scotland's Martin Laird ended the day three-under and 2013 US Open champion Justin Rose was on two-under.

World number one Jordan Spieth had a day to forget as he struck nine bogeys, including five in a row to close his round, in a eight-over-par horror show, which saw him card his worst-ever opening round score. 

User contributions and/or comments do not, unless specifically stated, represent the views of RTÉ.ie or RTÉ.
Click here for Terms of use