McIlroy: 65 sets the pace. SIPA USA/PA Images
Man in black

Birdie-birdie finish as McIlroy sets early pace with 65 in Mexico

World number one gets off to a fast start at WGC-Mexico Championship.

RORY MCILROY ROLLED in an early eagle and never looked back.

The world number one set the pace at the WGC-Mexico Championship on Thursday, firing an opening 65 to take the clubhouse lead.

His six-under par round leaves him two clear of the other early finishers in Mexico City, with Bubba Watson next best on four-under.

Bidding to go one better than his runner-up finish here last year, McIlroy opened with a par on the 10th hole before a superb approach gave him an early eagle look at the par-five 11th.

Back using his regular putter after experimenting with a slightly longer club in Riviera last week, he made the 16-foot putt to get his round off to a perfect start.

Another eagle attempt at the 15th came up just short, but the Hollywood golfer tapped in for birdie as he made the turn in three-under par.

A 12-footer from the fringe dropped for birdie at the second before McIlroy’s only dropped shot of the day came with a bogey five at the fourth hole.

But he bounced right back with an impressive final flourish which saw him birdie three of his last four holes, a 26-footer on the sixth followed by a birdie-birdie finish.

“I drove the ball well and I took advantage of that,” McIlroy told Sky Sports afterwards.

“I think the big thing was that I putted well. I didn’t putt so well at Riviera last week, went back to my old putter. I was trying a new one last week, it didn’t quite work out the way I wanted it to.

“I was comfortable on the greens today and held some nice ones coming in.”

It was a very different day for Graeme McDowell who shot a five-over par 76 which leaves him tied for 65th in a field of 72 players.

A calamitous front nine saw McDowell struggle with three bogeys as well as a horror triple-bogey after he found the water on the par-three seventh.

Shane Lowry, who is among the later starters, is one-over through 14 at the time of writing.

Andy Dunne and Murray Kinsella join Gavan Casey to tee you up for Sunday’s big one. The lads try to figure out where the winning and losing of the game will be, field a The42 member’s question as to what extent the media plays a role in Ireland’s performance, and Andy explains why Henry Tuilagi haunts his dreams at night.

The42 Rugby Weekly / SoundCloud

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