Rory McIlroy is seven shots off the lead after a mixed opening round at the Valero Texas Open.

A week ahead before The Masters gets underway, the world number nine carded a level par 72, while Graeme McDowell is two shots further back on two over.

Scotland's Russell Knox holds the lead on seven under after opening with a 65.

Rasmus Hoejgaard of Denmark is second one shot further back, having double bogeyed the 17th.


McIlroy made a slow start with bogeys on the 11th and 13th before rallying with a trio of birdies in his next four holes, including on the 17th which saw him almost make an eagle.

Instead he salvaged a birdie following a free drop after his initial tee shot skewed right and ended up underneath a car.

But a bogey on the 18th dropped him back to level par as he moved onto the front nine.

Birdies on the second and fifth sandwiched consecutive bogeys and he finished his round by picking up a shot on the eighth before immediately dropping another on the ninth.

McDowell started on the front nine which featured three bogeys and a birdie, before another bogey on 15 and a birdie on par-4 17th.