• Rory McIlroy shoots opening round of 73 at the Honda Classic
• "We were all struggling out there," said the world No.1
• Only 19 players under par, one of which is Scot Russell Knox
World No.1 Rory McIlroy shot a three-over opening round of 73 at the Honda Classic, and admitted it was a “grind” of a day right from the first hole.
The 25-year-old, who won the tournament in 2012, started with a double bogey in tough conditions at PGA National but, at five-over par after the 16th, he did manage to salvage something from the round with a birdie-birdie finish.
After the 16th hole, Rory McIlroy’s group were a combined 20-over par, with Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka having days to forget with rounds of 77 and 78 respectively.
"We were all struggling and it was a grind out there" - Rory McIlroy
Speaking after his round, Rory McIlroy said: “The conditions were obviously very tricky from the start. From the first hole, it was always going to be a day like that.
“When nothing’s going your way, you don’t have anything feed off and you don’t see many good shots, it’s tough. We were all struggling and it was a grind out there.
“Today wasn’t obviously what I wanted to start with, but if I can get into red numbers tomorrow, I’m right back in the tournament.”
Eleven of the 12 European Ryder Cup winning players were in action at Palm Beach Gardens on the opening day, with Henrik Stenson the only absentee.
Of those, only Martin Kaymer and Jamie Donaldson were below par, both two-under, and three shots behind sole leader Jim Herman.
Donaldson said: “It was really tough. If you got off today, you were in trouble. We had three holes at the end where the wind dropped, which was nice, but at the start, it was brutal.
“I think it gusted up to about 50mph, it definitely felt like that. At time you had 160 and it was playing 200, 210. It was really difficult in places and as hard as I’ve seen it here, so it was nice to come in with two-under par.”
Stephen Gallacher finished his round three-over par, but the only other Scot in the field, Russell Knox, performed much better and is in in that group of 19 players below par with a round of 69.
Rory McIlroy at the Honda Classic :: Your thoughts
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