Home Rory McIlroy dialled-in day one of AT&T | Golf | Sport

Rory McIlroy dialled-in day one of AT&T | Golf | Sport

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McIlroy teed-up in the $7.4m (£5.3m) event for a first occasion having averaged 67 for each of his eight rounds on the European Tour’s ‘Middle East Swing’.

And had it not been for a 16th hole bogey, McIroy would have kept his average at an even 67 on the Pacific Ocean lined Spyglass Hill course and just a short drive north of Pebble Beach.

Though there were far too many continuing good signs in McIlroy’s game to dwell on any negative.

McIlroy’s first PGA Tour birdie in near five months was in holing an eight-foot gem at the par-5 opening hole.

The current World No. 8, and playing alongside Phil Mickelson, dropped a shot at six but picked off birdies also at seven, eight and the then three inward half birdies on the par-5 11th and 14th holes before a birdie at the last for his four-under total.

“I was happy with my round and anytime you can get it around Spyglass with a decent score you have to feel good as it is the tougher of the three courses,” he said.

“I recovered well from a couple of messy holes coming in and in the end, I made a great bogey on 16, a great par on 17 and then it was nice to finish with a birdie.

“I’m scrambling well when I need to. I feel like I’ve made good strides with my putting over the off season. Driving the ball good. Everything — from when I spoke to you guys last until now, everything, I feel, has gotten better, which is a good thing.

“So, no, I feel really comfortable with it all.”

While the PGA Tour posted video of McIlroy’s  opening birdie and with the caption ‘first birdie of the season’, in the wider golfing world McIlroy has now recorded 50 birdies in nine rounds of 2018 competition at an average of 5.5 birdies per round.

And Paul Casey, in his first event since helping steer Europe to victory in the EurAsia Cup, was thrilled to also commence his first regular event of the New Year with a five-under par 67 on the Pebble Beach course.

Casey bogeyed his second hole, the 11th on the scorecard, but regrouped superbly with six birdies from his sixth to 15th holes.

The American duo of Kevin Streelman and Beau Hossler head the $7.4m event with seven-under par 65s.

Defending AT & T champion, Jordan Spieth struggled managing just one birdie and also one bogey in a level par 72 at Spyglass Hill.

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