Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Rory McIlroy, without a title in 2013, leads Shanghai's HSBC Champions

October 31, 2013 -- Updated 1826 GMT (0226 HKT)
Rory McIlroy hasn't had much to cheer about in 2013. But the Northern Irishman shot an impressive 65 to lead Shanghai's World Golf Championships after the first round. Rory McIlroy hasn't had much to cheer about in 2013. But the Northern Irishman shot an impressive 65 to lead Shanghai's World Golf Championships after the first round.
HIDE CAPTION
Day 1 at the World Golf Championship
Day 1 at the World Golf Championship
Day 1 at the World Golf Championship
Day 1 at the World Golf Championship
Day 1 at the World Golf Championship
Day 1 at the World Golf Championship
Day 1 at the World Golf Championship
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Rory McIlroy leads Shanghai's HSBC Champions after the first round
  • The Northern Irishman struck eight birdies and one bogey in his opening round
  • McIlroy, without a title in 2013, is chasing a spot at Dubai's World Tour Championship
  • British Open champion Phil Mickelson is six shots behind McIlroy after a one-under 71

(CNN) -- Was this the real Rory McIlroy or an imposter? Given it's Halloween, it's a fair question.

The former world No. 1 hasn't won a title all year but led Shanghai's HSBC Champions -- the fourth and final World Golf Championships event of 2013 -- after the first round and then proclaimed it was his finest 18 holes this season.

It bodes well for the Northern Irishman, who is chasing a spot at the season-ending event on the European Tour, the World Tour Championship in Dubai. Perhaps beating Tiger Woods in an exhibition this week in China gave sixth-ranked McIlroy an added boost after a difficult year in which he failed to qualify for the PGA Tour's 30-man finale.

McIlroy said Thursday's seven-under-par 65 bettered his 64 at the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston at the end of August.

Rory McIlroy reflects on opening round
Rory McIlroy admits walk-off error
McIlroy discusses his Ryder Cup match

"That was a good round of golf," the 24-year-old told reporters. "But this is probably better just because it was a little trickier conditions. There was a bit of breeze and you've got to play good golf to shoot seven under around this place.

"It's only one round of golf, but it's definitely the way I wanted, and needed, to start this week, keeping in mind that I obviously want to play myself into Dubai and try to pick up my first win of the season, as well.

"It's one of the best rounds I've played this season."

McIlroy struck eight birdies and only one bogey, on the 11th hole.

"It felt good to be out there and be in control of my golf ball," he said. "It's a great start, but it's only 18 holes.

"I've tried to stay patient the entire season, and I know that if I believe that I'm working on the right things -- and I am working on the right things -- then things will start to fall into place sooner or later."

McIlroy was two shots clear of Spain's Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Wales' Jamie Donaldson. U.S. Open champion Justin Rose and former Masters winner Bubba Watson were another shot back.

British Open champion Phil Mickelson was tied for 28th, six shots behind McIlroy.

Although he finished at one-under-par 71, his round was undone by a quadruple bogey on the eighth when he twice found the water, and he dropped another shot at the following hole -- his last, having started on the back nine.

Recently crowned FedEx Cup champion Henrik Stenson struggled, with the Swede finishing at two-over-par 74 to be tied for 57th in the 78-man field at Sheshan International.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1754 GMT (0154 HKT)
When someone tells you to go jump in a lake, sometimes it's best to take their advice. "I've never been so scared," says golfer Pablo Larrazabal.
Bubba Watson is the Masters king, but can he win a major away from Augusta? Living Golf's Shane O'Donoghue has the lowdown.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1412 GMT (2212 HKT)
Arnold Palmer
Arnold Palmer won his first major at Augusta, played there with the U.S. President and made a record 50 consecutive Masters appearances.
April 10, 2014 -- Updated 1202 GMT (2002 HKT)
He is remembered for designing one of the world's most famous golf courses, but the man behind Augusta died pleading to be paid.
April 9, 2014 -- Updated 1426 GMT (2226 HKT)
Will Phil Mickelson win a fourth green jacket? Can Europe end its long Masters wait? Or will Adam Scott emulate the absent Tiger Woods?
April 10, 2014 -- Updated 1004 GMT (1804 HKT)
Take a trip around Augusta. From Eisenhower's toppled tree to the fiendishly-difficult Amen Corner, the Masters' home venue has it all.
April 8, 2014 -- Updated 1204 GMT (2004 HKT)
He's been mistaken for Tiger Woods' ball-boy, but that won't be the case when amateur star Matt Fitzpatrick tees off at the Masters.
April 4, 2014 -- Updated 1228 GMT (2028 HKT)
2012 Masters Champion Bubba Watson shows us how to hit the long ball.
April 3, 2014 -- Updated 1827 GMT (0227 HKT)
CNN's Shane O'Donoghue meets Billy Payne -- the chairman of Augusta National Golf Club.
April 3, 2014 -- Updated 1739 GMT (0139 HKT)
Shane O'Donoghue meets Ben Crenshaw who won his first of two Masters thirty years ago this month.
March 27, 2014 -- Updated 1300 GMT (2100 HKT)
They carry a bag for a living but these men can bring home six-figure incomes. Welcome to the world of a caddy.
CNN's Alex Thomas welcomes golf opening itself up to women, but questions the motives behind the decision.
ADVERTISEMENT