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Rory's start leaves Tiger and Luke in the shade

Rory McIlroy currently shares the clubhouse lead after his opening round at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy examine their putts on the 10th green in Abu Dhabi this morning.
Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy examine their putts on the 10th green in Abu Dhabi this morning.
Image: Kamran Jebreili/AP/Press Association Images

RORY MCILROY GOT his season off to the best possible start as he flew into a share of the clubhouse lead at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.

Drawn alongside world number one Luke Donald and 14-time major winner Tiger Woods, McIlroy left his playing partners in the shade as he carded a first round of five-under-par 67.

Sweden’s Robert Karlsson shares the early lead with McIlroy, who told reporters afterwards that he hadn’t struck the ball particularly well off the tee.

“It was a good score and a great way to start 2012,” McIlroy told EuropeanTour.com, “but I don’t feel I drove the ball particularly well and it’s something I’ve got to work on.”

It was nothing that a good practice session won’t fix.

Starting his round on the 10th, McIlroy attacked the back nine from the off and picked up three birdies in his first four holes.  The end of his round was equally impressive, as he followed up a birdie on the seventh with a delicate chip-and-run to hole out for a four on the par five eighth.

McIlroy’s fellow Northern Irishman Gareth Maybin is a shot off the lead on four-under, alongside Richard Finch of England. Woods finished the day in a tie for sixth on two-under-par, with Donald a further shot back.

Martin Kaymer, who is hoping to make it four wins in five years at the tournament, is among the afternoon’s starters. The German began his round with a double-bogey at the first and is currently three-over-par.

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Niall Kelly

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