Rory McIlroy shares leads in Hong Kong Open after 64
Hong Kong Open first-round leaderboard
- R McIlroy (NI), A Quiros (Sp), D Horsey (Eng)
- MA Jimenez (Sp)
- -4 :
- D Beck (Aus), G Maybin (NI)
- Selected others -2:
- O Fisher (Eng), YE Yang (Kor)
- P Harrington (Ire)
- I Poulter (Eng)
Rory McIlroy shares the lead with Alvaro Quiros and David Horsey at the Hong Kong Open after firing a superb opening six-under-par 64.
McIlroy's bogey-free round in windy conditions was later matched by Quiros and Horsey while Miguel Angel Jimenez was one behind after a 65.
McIlroy is third in the order of merit, £970,000 behind leader Luke Donald, who is not playing in Hong Kong.
"It was very good, a solid round. I didn't make a mistake," said McIlroy.
Gareth Maybin, badly needing a good finish to hold on to his tour card, responded by firing an impressive 66.
However, Dunhill Links winner Michael Hoey shot a disappointing opening 78.
Peter Lawrie shot a 69 with Padraig Harrington, needing a high finish to force himself into next week's Dubai World Championship field, having to be content with a 70.
Damien McGrane, like Maybin under a degree of pressure to hold on to his card, was near the bottom of the field after carding a 77.
Starting on the 10th, McIlroy picked up birdies at the 14th and 16th to reach the turn in 33 before a sand wedge to inside three feet at the first brought another.
The 22-year-old moved to four under at the next and although his drive from the fifth tee found the bunker, a superb recovery allowed him to knock in a short putt for his fifth birdie of the day before adding his sixth at the next.
"Six birdies and no bogeys is always a nice way to start the tournament," added McIlroy, who has twice finished runner-up at the Hong Kong event.
"I just gave myself a lot of chances - I think I hit 17 greens and a lot of fairways - and I was able to take a few, which was nice."
A win for McIlroy would help to cut Donald's lead at the top of the order of merit heading into the Dubai World Championship.
Maybin started this week's event in 120th place in the order of merit, with only the top 118 after Sunday's tournament conclusion set to hold on to tour cards for next season.
However, Maybin, after starting at the 10th, picked up birdies on the 11th, 12th, 15th and 16th and parred his remaining 12 holes to card a 66.