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Dublin: 13 °C Monday 21 May, 2018

McIlroy makes a good start to 'next chapter' as life without JP gets underway

He hit an opening round 67 at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

RORY MCILROY HAS made a good start to life without long-time caddie JP Fitzgerald, as he hit an opening round 67 at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Akron.

PGA: WGC - Bridgestone Invitational - First Round McIlroy and Diamond. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

With close friend Harry Diamond on his bag, the world number four carded five birdies and two bogeys to finish three-under par alongside Open champion Jordan Spieth.

Last night, the 28-year-old confirmed that he had brought an end to his nine-year relationship with Fitzgerald. He’s now hoping he can look ahead to future success with a new approach, as he seeks to add to his quartet of Major triumphs.

“It was good,” McIlroy said of the round, which was blotted somewhat by a three-putt bogey on the ninth — his final hole.

“I’m taking a little bit more responsibility on myself and there were a couple of times where I probably should have hit another club, but that’s on me, not anyone else.

“I’d much rather be frustrated at my own decision than someone else’s. It’s great to have my best mate on the bag and we’re just having a good time.

“It was strange the first couple of holes. It’s different but I stuck to it today, I played pretty well. I guess it’s the start of the next chapter in my career and we’ll go from here.”

Diamond, who was best man at McIlroy’s wedding earlier this year, will be on his bag for this tournament, and possibly for the foreseeable future.

“We’ll see how the next two weeks go, but I’m not ruling anything out,” he said last night.

“It could be two weeks, it could go longer than that. If we have a couple of good weeks here, you never know but I think that decision will be up to Harry rather than me.

“Obviously he’s got his own thing going on back home, but a couple of wins might change things.”

Belgium’s Thomas Pieters sits top of the leaderboard, as he fired five birdies in a bogey-free 65. Scotland’s Russell Knox is a shot behind in second place, while McIlroy and Spieth are among those tied for third.

You can follow the full leaderboard here>

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