Rory McIlroy Off To Disappointing Start In Abu Dhabi
By Jake O'Reilly
17 January 2013 09:41
World number one Rory McIlroy got his Nike career off to disappointing start at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, firing a three-over-par 75.
Playing alongside Tiger Woods and three-time Abu Dhabi winner Martin Kaymer, the Northern Irishman racked up two double bogeys, a bogey and only two birdies during a tough day.
His troubles began on the par-3 15th - his 6th of the day - when he sprayed a tee shot and made a double. The 23-year-old then drove out of bounds on the 439-yard 3rd to record another double, while an errant approach to the par-5 18th finished behind one of the greenside hospitality units.
McIlroy did pick up two shots, but still finished three behind Woods at level par and a further shot back from German Martin Kaymer at one-under.
Afterwards McIlroy admitted he lacked sharpness, saying: "I feel like I was just a little bit rusty. I didn't drive it well and I didn't putt well, so I'll have to work on that this afternoon."
Notably however, he refused to blame his form on his recent switch of equipment, adding: "For the most part I was very happy with everything, I just have to work on a couple of things."
Woods, whose round included four birdies and four bogeys, also hit an uncharacteristic drive off the first tee – his 10th - which failed to reach the fairway.
Away from the headline group, Welshman Jamie Donaldson leads the field after a five-under-par that included six birdies and just the one bogey.