• McIlroy makes strong start in Abu Dhabi

    Rory McIlroy
    Rory McIlroy

    Former world No 1 Rory McIlroy raced out of the blocks to take the opening-round lead at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship on Thursday.

    The start of 2021’s first European Tour event was delayed early on due to some heavy fog causing poor visibility around the Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

    McIlroy made a flying start when he teed off alongside defending champion Lee Westwood and American Justin Thomas, carding four birdies on the front nine and four more as he came home for a bogey-free round of 64.

    READ: Strong South African contingent in UAE

    It meant the Northern Irishman finished the day on eight under par and with a one-shot lead over Tyrrell Hatton.

    The Englishman opened his account with a seven-under-par 65, while Fabrizio Zanotti went six under for his first round.

    A number of players, though, weren’t able to finish their opening rounds on Thursday due to the late start in the morning.

    Those players will be out bright and early on Friday morning to complete their rounds, before the second day’s action officially gets under way.

    They include George Coetzee, who is on two under par after 11 holes, while Compleat Golfer playing editor Brandon Stone is on one under through ten holes alongside Richard Sterne, who has only completed eight holes.

    Christiaan Bezuidenhout is on even par through the 12 holes he has played so far.


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