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WATCH: Frustrated Rory McIlroy...
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WATCH: Frustrated Rory McIlroy snaps club during opening round at Zozo

Shane Hannon
Shane Hannon

08:31 23 Oct 2020

Rory McIlroy had an opening round to forget at the Zozo Championships in California on the PGA Tour, snapping his club on his way to a double-bogey at the last.

The Down man, who is attempting to win his first tournament in almost a year, shot an opening round of 73 at Sherwood Country Club to sit on one-over.

Colombian Sebastián Muñoz holds a one-shot lead on eight-under par after a generally low-scoring first round, with Justin Thomas and Tyrrell Hatton joint-second.

The tournament, normally held in Japan, is being hosted in Thousand Oaks, California due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is for most players a last chance to get some form into the books ahead of the Masters at Augusta National, which gets underway from November 12th.

There is no cut at this week's tournament, so McIlroy will get the chance to amend his wayward start, wherein he hit seven birdies, four bogeys, and two double-bogeys.

Tiger Woods had a nightmare opening day, and sits towards the back of the field after shooting a four-over 76.

McIlroy is looking for a first tournament win since the 2019 WGC-HSBC Champions event almost 12 months ago, and he would have been reasonably encouraged by birdies on the 16th and 17th as he looked to put an average round behind him.

However a wild tee shot at the last and poor approach shot to the green resulted in his second double-bogey of the round, and a day to forget overall for the two-time FedEx Cup winner.

McIlroy had spoken before the event about how he was focused on winning the tournament, as opposed to having one eye on Augusta.

"It's been a year since I've won, I haven't won since China last year. So this week is a great opportunity to try to get a win and get into contention and I think that would be a big step if I were able to. I haven't really been in contention much since coming back from the lockdown.

"If I could get into contention this week and have a chance to win, I think that would be great for just overall confidence in play and all that. But obviously great looking ahead a couple weeks' time and getting in a position where you're having to hit shots under the gun and under that pressure of trying to win a golf tournament.

"But for me, I'm 100 per cent focused on this week and there's no part of my mind that will be on Augusta, Georgia, when I'm out there playing those 72 holes this week."

McIlroy would secure a career Major Grand Slam with a win in Georgia next month.

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