Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Woods, McIlroy in form ahead of China showdown

updated 8:03 AM EDT, Thu October 25, 2012
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy has been top of the world rankings since May's Wells Fargo Championship.
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy has been top of the world rankings since May's Wells Fargo Championship.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods both shoot opening-round 65s on Thursday
  • World No. 1 McIlroy five under par after the opening round of the BMW Masters
  • 14-time major winner Woods also five under after day one of the CIMB Classic
  • The duo will meet in an exhibition matchplay event in China on Monday

Editor's note:

(CNN) -- Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods warmed up for their much-anticipated showdown in China next week by carding five-under-par opening rounds of 65 in separate Asian events on Thursday.

World No. 1 McIlroy is playing in the European Tour's $7 million BMW Masters tournament in Shanghai, where he was five strokes adrift of day one leader Jamie Donaldson of Wales despite making a strong start to a tournament he won last year in its initial staging.

On the PGA Tour, 14-time major winner Woods was also five under after the opening round of the CIMB Classic in Malaysia, three shots behind the pacesetter, his fellow American Troy Matteson.

Following the conclusion of this weekend's events, PGA Championship winner McIlroy and world No. 2 Woods will head to Zhengzhou, where they will play each other in a match play format for the first time.

Read: Scott - "McIlroy can dominate Woods"

Duke supports young golfers
Golfers aim at Obama, Romney targets
Europe's historic Ryder Cup comeback
Who makes Michael Phelps giddy?

McIlroy and Woods have been on opposing teams before, most recently when Europe retained the Ryder Cup in Illinois last month, but the exhibition event dubbed "The Duel" will be the first time they have faced off individually.

"I really started hitting the ball quite well at the end of the front nine. I happened to miss two short putts," the 36-year-old Woods told the PGA Tour's official website after completing his round in Kuala Lumpur.

"Realistically it could have been seven or eight (under). But even at the turn, and still post five (under), it was a nice little comeback."

McIlroy sat in the upper echelons of a leaderboard dominated by his fellow European Ryder Cup heroes, tied for fourth with former team captain Jose Maria Olazabal.

Sweden's Peter Hanson and Italian Francesco Molinari were tied for second on six under after shooting opening rounds of 66, while former world No. 1 Martin Kaymer -- the German who sank the putt which ensured Europe retained the trophy at Medinah -- was in a six-way tie for seventh position on 68 alongside Justin Rose.

Rose is currently second behind McIlroy in the European Tour's "Race to Dubai" money list with five events remaining this year, and the Englishman can take the lead if he wins the $1.16 million first prize on Sunday -- as can South African Branden Grace.

Grace, who has won four titles this year, was tied for 22nd on 70 in a group including Ryder Cup stars Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Luke Donald plus veteran two-time major winner John Daly.

Donaldson set a new course record of 62 as he began his bid for a second European Tour title -- the first, in Ireland in July, came at the 255th attempt.

"It's an awesome field, so I need to keep playing like that to stay ahead of them," he said.

Elsewhere, Ireland's Padraig Harrington clinched the four-man Grand Slam of Golf event at Port Royal Golf Course in Bermuda.

The event, usually contested between the year's four major winners, saw Harrington finish nine under through two rounds, one stroke clear of U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson.

Harrington, winner of three major titles in 2007-08, was drafted in as a replacement for British Open champion Ernie Els, who withdrew with an ankle injury.

Masters winner Bubba Watson finished on three under, level with fellow American Keegan Bradley -- playing in place of PGA Championship titleholder McIlroy.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:24 AM EDT, Fri August 8, 2014
From Seve's "spine-shivering" moment to Jack Nicklaus' "perfect explosion," David Cannon has captured many of golf's defining images.
updated 9:20 AM EDT, Thu August 7, 2014
They came home as casualties of war -- physically shattered and mentally broken. But golf is proving to be an unlikely salvation for U.S. veterans.
updated 8:31 AM EDT, Tue August 5, 2014
You are the one hitting the shots, but the man standing over your shoulder could hold the key to your golfing destiny.
updated 8:27 AM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
PINEHURST, NC - JUNE 10: Rory McIlroy (R) of Northern Ireland talks with his dad Gerry McIlroy (L) during a practice round prior to the start of the 114th U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, Course No. 2 on June 10, 2014 in Pinehurst, North Carolina. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
He has been there for all three of his son's major wins, but the latest triumph may well have been the sweetest yet for Rory McIlroy's father.
updated 8:18 AM EDT, Wed July 9, 2014
The next generation of golfers just keeps on getting younger. "They have the confidence to perform against their idols," says one ex-prodigy.
updated 7:59 AM EDT, Tue July 1, 2014
He was Spain's ultimate matador and golf's greatest escape artist.
updated 11:36 AM EDT, Wed June 18, 2014
Rory McIlroy has announced he wants to represent Ireland at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Two-time major champion Rory McIlroy declares he'll represent Ireland at the Rio Olympics, not Great Britain.
updated 10:48 PM EDT, Mon April 28, 2014
Already admired by Annika Sorenstam and with a bucketful of talent, New Zealand's Lydia Ko has the world of golf at her feet.
updated 7:30 AM EDT, Mon April 28, 2014
Mike O'Connor, UK FootGolf
Like footie? Partial to a bit of golf? Then you'll love FootGolf. The sport's growing fan base includes a host of former English Premier League stars.
updated 9:43 AM EDT, Thu April 24, 2014
Golfers at at Barkway Park don't seem to concerned and have been taking pictures and videos of the bird when it appears on the greens and fairways.
A runaway ostrich-like bird hiding near an English golf course has caused quite a stir. Some say it's dangerous, while others are cashing in.
updated 8:38 AM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
Eagles may be thin on the ground for most golfers at the Bear Trace course at Harrison Bay. But up in the treetops, it's a different matter.
updated 1:54 PM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
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.
ADVERTISEMENT