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Dublin: 11 °C Sunday 18 November, 2018

Back-nine blip dents McIlroy's challenge on opening day of PGA Championship

World number four is five shots off the lead at Quail Hollow.

McIlroy: 14th hole proved costly.
McIlroy: 14th hole proved costly.
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

RORY MCILROY WAS left to rue a back-nine blip as his PGA Championship challenge got off to a shaky start on Thursday.

McIlroy teed off at Quail Hollow, where he has won twice in the past, as the pre-tournament favourite but finished his opening round five shots off the pace set by Thorbjorn Olesen.

Despite the tricky course set up, the world number four hit the turn in one-under par, and added another birdie on the 10th after a neat chip left him with a six-foot putt.

But after dropping a shot on 13, McIlroy sent his tee shot into the water on 14, and struggled to a double-bogey six.

He avoided any further damage, finishing with four straight pars for a one-over par 72, the same score as rival Jordan Spieth who is bidding to complete the career Grand Slam this week.

Graeme McDowell is also on one-over through 15 holes of his opening round. Shane Lowry finished the day on three-over, while Pádraig Harrington is eight-over.

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