Windy day at Honda Classic puts Rory McIlroy six behind

Rory McIlroy (right) and Dustin Johnson

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy negotiated 'The Bear Trap' but stumbled on Palm Beach Gardens' punishing 18th to finish the opening round of the Honda Classic six shots off the lead.

It was a better day for compatriot Graham McDowell and England's Tommy Fleetwood, who - along with Tiger Woods - were two shots off the top of pack after even-par rounds of 70.

Ahead of them Sweden's Alex Noren and American Webb Simpson were tied for the lead after scores of 66 left them four under par in Florida.

Other Irish competitors in Miami include Shane Lowry, who sits one above McIlroy on 71, Padraig Harrington a further six shots back on 77 and Seamus Power one more adrift on 78.

Completing the first round level with reigning Masters champion Sergio Garcia on two over, McIlroy had looked to be in good shape as he carded two birdies on the third and fourth.

However, blustery conditions accompanied bogies on the sixth and seventh and the former world number one failed to break par for 10 holes straight.

McIlroy cleared the challenging 15th, 16th and 17th holes - dubbed The Bear Trap - on par, but fell victim to the 556-yard 18th to card a double bogey.

The 2012 champion told the PGA website: "It was a pretty tough day. (The) wind was up, (the) greens got a little sort of crusty and firm.

"I felt like I was hanging on pretty well, doing what I needed to do, just sort of grinding out pars and was pushing for a birdie at the last to try and shoot under par and just tried to hold a three wood into the wind and overdid it a little bit.

"So, a disappointing finish but we'll get back out tomorrow morning and try to rectify that mistake and start again."

Only 20 players out of a field of 140 completed scores under par in the opening round, including McDowell and Fleetwood who managed birdies on McIlroy's nemesis 18th.

McDowell recorded the longest putt of the day at 63ft 9in on the par three 17th, one of only nine birdies on the hole.

After failing to make the cut in the Genesis Open last week, Woods played the best round of his comeback, hitting 10 of 18 greens and seven of 14 fairways.

Defending champion Rickie Fowler finished one over par to sit in a 20-way tie for 36th.

Collated first round scores in the USPGA Tour The Honda Classic, PGA National (Champion), Palm Beach gardens, Florida, United States of America

(USA unless stated, par 70):

66 Alex Noren (Swe), Webb Simpson

67 Daniel Berger, Justin Thomas, Morgan Hoffmann, Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa), Mackenzie Hughes (Can)

68 Ben Crane, Russell Henley, Dominic Bozzelli, Jamie Lovemark

69 Adam Schenk, Rory Sabbatini (Rsa), Chris Stroud, Jason Dufner, Nate Lashley, Martin Piller, Keegan Bradley, J.B. Holmes, Thomas Pieters (Bel)

70 Tiger Woods, Harold Varner III, Graeme McDowell (Nirl), Byeong-Hun An (Kor), Lucas Glover, Scott Piercy, Stewart Cink, Ben Martin, Talor Gooch, Sam Burns, Tommy Fleetwood (Eng), Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Spa), Tyler Duncan, Corey Conners (Can), Ryan Moore

71 Nick Watney, Andrew Landry, Emiliano Grillo (Arg), Chad Campbell, Shane Lowry (Irl), Rickie Fowler, Peter Malnati, Luke List, Chris Kirk, Roberto Diaz (Mex), William McGirt, Harris English, Abraham Ancer (Mex), Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha), Cheng-Tsung Pan (Twn), Keith Mitchell, Michael Kim, John Huh, Dylan Frittelli (Rsa), Troy Merritt

72 Scott Brown, Kelly Kraft, Cody Gribble, Robert Streb, Grayson Murray, Rory McIlroy, (Nirl), Jim Furyk, Ollie Schniederjans, Sergio Garcia (Spa), Tyrone Van Aswegen (Rsa), Patrick Rodgers, Jonathan Randolph, Patrick Reed

73 Adam Scott (Aus), Martin Flores, Scott Stallings, Hudson Swafford, Vaughn Taylor, Brian Gay, Gary Woodland, Matt Every, Derek Fathauer, Peter Uihlein, Kevin Tway, Russell Knox (Sco), Anirban Lahiri (Ind)

74 Andrew Putnam, Ryan Palmer, Bronson Burgoon, Charles Howell III, Richy Werenski, Sean O'Hair, Billy Horschel, Shawn Stefani, Retief Goosen (Rsa), Sung Kang (Kor), Greg Chalmers (Aus), Brian Harman, Chesson Hadley, Lanto Griffin, Alex Cejka (Ger), Joel Dahmen, Billy Hurley III, Ryan Blaum, Patton Kizzire, Tyrrell Hatton (Eng), Ian Poulter (Eng), Jhonattan Vegas (Ven), Blayne Barber, Brandt Snedeker

75 Jhared Hack, Robert Garrigus, Martin Kaymer (Ger), Bob Estes, Tom Lovelady, Wesley Bryan, Xinjun Zhang (Chn), J.J. Spaun, Bernd Wiesberger (Aut), Jon Curran, Andrew Novak, David Lingmerth (Swe), Sam Saunders, Fabian Gomez (Arg), J.J. Henry, Rob Oppenheim, T.J Vogel, Ryan Armour

76 Brian Stuard, Aaron Wise, Tom Hoge, Ethan Tracy, Michael Thompson, Denny McCarthy, Jimmy Walker, Luke Donald (Eng), Camilo Villegas (Col), Padraig Harrington (Irl)

77 Ted Potter, Jr., Brice Garnett, Seamus Power (Irl), Cameron Tringale

78 Benjamin Silverman (Can)

79 Stephan Jaeger (Ger), Kevin Kisner, Andrew Filbert

80 Bud Cauley

83 Smylie Kaufman




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