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Rory McIlroy leads in Mexico but is set to miss Irish Open

Rory McIlroy shot a 63 on day one of the WGC-Mexico to take a one-shot lead over the rest of the field
Padraig Kelly

RORY McIlroy held a one-shot lead after the first round at the WGC Mexico Championship last night.

McIlroy shot an eight-under 63 as he produced some outstanding golf on the same day that he confirmed that he wouldn’t be competing at this year’s Irish Open in Lahinch in July.

The Holywood golfer, who has been credited with re-establishing the tournament as a prestigious event in recent years, said that his decision was to ensure that he was fully prepared for The Open at Royal Portrush a couple of weeks later.

“If I was to play the Irish Open, The Open Championship would be my third event in a row,” he told BBC NI.

“For me, that’s not the best way to prepare for what could be the biggest event of my life.”

On the course McIlroy picked up from where he had left off at the Genesis Open in California last week with some sensational iron play.

Starting on the ninth hole, he birdied two of his first three holes as he made a 12-foot putt at the par-five 11th, while a precise low approach moved him to two-under at the 12th.

He picked up another shot at the 15th before landing a glorious tee-shot close to the hole on the par-three 17th. A simple looking putt raced around the hole but eventually dropped in to ensure that he was out in 32.

McIlroy’s shot of the day arrived at the par-four first as his two-iron effort troubled the hole before he rolled in the putt for eagle to move to six-under.

Further birdies followed at the second and fourth before his first blemish arrived at the sixth hole. McIlroy found trouble down the left off the tee and a bogey six brought him back to seven-under. He bounced back with another birdie at the eighth after sinking a long-range putt.

Dustin Johnson was one shot behind McIlroy after a 64, with two further shots back to American duo Justin Thomas and Matt Kuchar

Offaly’s Shane Lowry was also enjoying a good first round as he headed into the back nine last night.

A bogey at his first hole, the 10th, set him back but birdies at the 11th, 12th, 14th and first left him on three-under par. A bogey followed to leave him two-under with seven holes left to play.

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