Date: October 31, 2013
Author: Omnisport

McIlroy leads in Shanghai

Rory McIlroy demonstrated his return to form by taking a two-shot lead in the first round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, while Australian Scott Hend is four shots off the pace. The former world number one has failed to win a trophy in 2013, but he shot a seven-under opening round of 65 to set the pace at the Sheshan International Golf Club on Thursday. Northern Irishman McIlroy revealed before the tournament that his putting must improve if he is to end his wait for a win and the two-time major winner showed he is getting back on track by making eight birdies in an impressive opening round. The 24-year-old needs to finish in the top 30 this week to secure his place in the Race to Dubai and he is well on course to achieve that. Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Jamie Donaldson are tied for second place after shooting two-under rounds of 67. Spaniard Fernandez-Castano maintained the form that saw him win the BMW Masters in Shanghai on Sunday as he picked up six birdies and dropped just one shot in his opening round. Welshman Jamie Donaldson was one under at the turn, but made four birdies on the back nine and an eagle two at the 16th to put himself firmly in contention. Justin Rose, Bubba Watson, Tommy Fleetwood and Jordan Spieth are just three shots adrift of McIlroy. Hend is a further shot back alongside the likes of Paul Casey, Ernie Els, Dustin Johnson and Graeme McDowell after sinking four birdies in an impressive opening round of 69. World number three Phil Mickelson helped himself to six birdies, but a triple-bogey eight at the eighth proved costly as the Open champion had to settle for being one under alongside fellow American Keegan Bradley as well as English duo Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter. Meanwhile, Australia&aposs Brett Rumford is three over and in a tie for 64th, with counterpart Daniel Popovic two shots further back.