Golf: Solid start for McIlroy in Abu Dhabi
ABU DHABI (AFP) - Henrik Stenson's magical touch deserted him on the first day back in office in the new year, but world number seven Rory McIlroy posted a solid opening round in the US$2.7 million (S$3.4 million) Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship on Thursday.
The world number three Swede, almost unstoppable through the last six months of 2013, struggled to make birdies and finished the day on two-over par 74.
McIlroy did not get due reward of hitting 15 greens in regulation, and even though he was bogey-free, he made only two birdies for a two-under par 70.
There was a three-way tie for the lead with Spaniard Rafael Cabrera-Bello posting a strong finish of three birdies in his last five holes and joining England's Matthew Baldwin and France's Romain Wattel at the top of the leaderboard at five-under par 67.