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McIlroy hits 72 in opening round in Texas as Knox leapfrogs Hojgaard

The Valero Texas Open is this week’s PGA Tour event.

Rory McIlroy (file photo).
Rory McIlroy (file photo).
Image: Joe Robbins

RORY MCILROY HIT a 72 to finish level-par after the first round of the Valero Texas Open, while Graeme McDowell carded a 74.

McIlroy’s inconsistent round featured six birdies and six bogeys as he plays the last tournament before the Masters at Augusta.

His round began on the 10th with McIlroy recording two early bogeys before picking up three shots between the 14th and 17th holes, and then rounding off his front nine with a bogey on the 18th. His form continued to be mixed on his back nine, summed up by the finish that saw him birdie the 8th and bogey the 9th.

McDowell was two-over after his front nine and was unable to make inroads on his back nine, but a bogey on the 15th was followed by a closing boost with a birdie on the 18th.

Danish star Rasmus Hojgaard had looked as if he would set the pace on eight-under through 16, with a superb front nine of 30 that featured four birdies and an eagle.

However, a double bogey on the last was a major sucker punch at the finish, gifting Russell Knox from Scotland the outright lead with a 65 on seven-under, while Matt Kuchar is third on five-under.

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