• Shell Houston Open, Round One

Mixed day for McIlroy in Texas

ESPN staff
March 28, 2013
Rory McIlroy made costly errors early on but improved on the back nine holes © Getty Images

Shell Houston Open Leaderboard

Rory McIlroy endured a mixed start to the Shell Houston Open after finishing nine shots off the lead in the opening round.

The 23-year-old has the opportunity to reclaim the world No. 1 spot if he wins the event after being displaced by Tiger Woods on Monday, following the American's triumph at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

However, McIlroy has plenty of work to do if he wants to jump back in front of Woods after making errors early on and taking time to recover. Four birdies at the start of the back nine holes looked as though McIlroy was going to mount a charge, but some more sloppy play towards the end of his round left him languishing one-over par after a round of 72.

McIlroy began solidly by parring the first hole, but he was undone by the second when producing a bogey. The following five holes were pars before more trouble came on the eighth.

McIlroy found the bunker from the tee, only managing to hack out into the rough, before landing his third shot in the water and eventually scoring a double bogey.

The Northern Irishman started to flow at the beginning of the back nine, scoring three birdies in the first four holes. Yet another bogey on the 14th par-three after placing in the bunker disrupted his momentum, but very quickly McIlroy sunk a birdie on the 15th and parred the 16th.

The start to the back nine promised so much, but needing to putt from seven-and-a-half feet to save par on the 17th McIlroy fluffed his lines and dropped another shot, before ending his opening round with his tenth par of the day.

"I feel like I'm hitting it okay and am putting well. But I came out of a few iron shots today. The thing is to commit to my shots. I did come back well, though," admitted McIlroy.

Lee Westwood enjoyed a fine opening round by carding a 68 with seven birdies to end the day four shots off leader DA Points, who was using his mother's putter dating from the 1980s.

Points has a one-shot lead over Cameron Tringale, with two more Americans John Collins and Jason Kokrak completing the top four.

Former Masters and US Open champion Angel Cabrera is a couple of strokes behind points.

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