Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Rory McIlroy leads way at Honda Classic

updated 6:35 PM EST, Thu February 27, 2014
Rory McIlroy finished at the top of the leaderboard after day one of the Honda Classic in Florida.
Rory McIlroy finished at the top of the leaderboard after day one of the Honda Classic in Florida.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Rory McIlroy shoots seven-under 63 in opening round of Honda Classic
  • World No. 8 banishes memory of miserable, premature exit 12 months ago
  • Tiger Woods struggles to one-over par round of 71
  • World No. 2 Adam Scott in mix after opening with two-under 68

Follow us at @WorldSportCNN and like us on Facebook

(CNN) -- Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy stormed to a seven-under round of 63 in the opening round of the Honda Classic at Florida's PGA National on Thursday.

The world No. 8, who dramatically pulled out of the tournament following a disastrous start to his second round 12 months ago, produced a bogey-free round to finish one shot clear of America's Russell Henley.

McIlroy, who is looking to repeat his 2012 success at Palm Beach Gardens, came home in just 30 strokes aided by back-to-back birdies at the closing two holes.

South Africa's Rory Sabbatini, William McGirt from the U.S. and Wales' Jamie Donaldson are tied for third place after each shot opening rounds of 65.

Read more: Latest leaderboard

How Dubai attracted the world's greatest golfers
Henrik Stenson's $20 million year

Australia's Adam Scott, who will start the defence of his Masters title at Augusta National in just six weeks, got off to a steady start -- a two-under par 68 leaves the world No. 2 in a tie for 21st place.

But it was another dissatisfying day at the office for Tiger Woods who remains mired, by his high standards, in mediocrity after struggling to an opening round one-over par 71.

The world No. 1, who crashed out of the Farmers Insurance Open with a 79 in January, birdied the last hole to end on a positive note after struggling to find his form on the greens.

"I hit it good enough to shoot at least three or four lower than I did," Woods said.

"I had so many looks that I just missed. I hit good putts but I didn't figure out the greens as well as I needed to. I need to read them a little better than I did."

World No. 3, Henrik Stenson also struggled to get going on Thursday and finished with a three-over par 73.

Elsewhere, Phil Mickelson and Graeme McDowell both opened with even-par rounds of 70 and are currently tied for 57th.

Further up the leaderboard, Zimbabwe's Brendon de Jonge is tied with America's Derek Ernst, Tommy Gainey, Brice Garnett and Matt Every for sixth on four-under par.

England's Luke Donald and former Masters champion Zach Johnson are part of 10-way tie for 11th place after opening rounds of 67.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 6:29 AM EST, Wed November 12, 2014
"Sleep, as far as mental and physical recovery goes, has never been more important ..." says sport sleep coach Nick Littlehales.
updated 5:24 AM EST, Tue November 4, 2014
Joe Miller is devouring his second steak of the day and the clock has barely nudged 2pm. You need lots of fuel to smash a drive 474 yards.
updated 10:49 AM EDT, Mon October 13, 2014
There have been many dark days for Oliver Wilson, but golf's unluckiest loser is finally riding an upward swing of his career roller coaster.
updated 12:48 PM EDT, Tue October 7, 2014
They dress like it's the 1930s and they swing antique equipment that eschews cutting-edge technology -- this is hickory golf.
updated 12:09 PM EDT, Mon September 15, 2014
CNN's Living Golf focuses on women's golf, charting the growth of the sport from royal pastime to multi-million dollar machine.
updated 4:46 AM EDT, Wed October 1, 2014
"I don't know how to paint happy," says golf's poster girl Michelle Wie. "I think it releases a lot of the darker feelings in me."
updated 8:13 AM EDT, Mon September 29, 2014
Phil Mickelson of the United States talks during a press conference after the United States were defeated by Europe after the Singles Matches of the 2014 Ryder Cup on the PGA Centenary course at the Gleneagles Hotel on September 28, 2014 in Auchterarder, Scotland.
If you're a U.S. golf fan, or Tom Watson, look away now.
updated 7:18 PM EDT, Thu September 25, 2014
A ban on uploading social media pictures from the course at Gleneagles was dropped for the Ryder Cup.
updated 6:52 AM EDT, Wed September 24, 2014
A spot of shopping, the odd spa day and some serious flag waving. Welcome to the life of a Ryder Cup WAG.
updated 9:01 AM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Tom Watson has learned plenty in the 21 years since he was last U.S. Ryder Cup captain, but social media is proving to be problematic.
updated 8:43 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Patriotism will reach fever pitch when the USA and Europe collide in golf's Ryder Cup ... and it looks like Rickie Fowler has let it go to his head.
updated 9:42 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Pressure is inescapable in the cauldron of Ryder Cup competition -- pressure and ping pong.
updated 7:50 AM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Millions of golf fans were watching on television with great anticipation. All Martin Kaymer could think about was getting his phone out.
ADVERTISEMENT