McIlroy like his old self, for one round at HSBC

McClatchy news servicesNovember 1, 2013 

For at least one round, Rory McIlroy displayed his graceful combination of power and balance. There was a bounce in his step after every birdie. His name at the top of the leaderboard.

The former No. 1 player in the world who hasn’t won a tournament all year, made eight birdies in a round of 7-under-par 65 to take the first-round lead at the HSBC Champions on Thursday in Shanghai.

He followed up with an even-par 72 to fall out of the lead – but not out of love with how good it felt.

“It felt good to be out there and in control of my golf ball,” McIlroy said.

Friday’s second round — which was incomplete when the The News Tribune went to press — saw another golfer catch fire and pass McIlroy.

Dustin Johnson birdied six of his first seven holes and reached 10 under with birdies at Nos. 13 and 14 for a three-shot lead.

Bunched with McIlroy were Bubba Watson (69) and Boo Weekley (67). A group of five players, including Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose, were a one shot back at 6 under.

After an opening-round 2-under 70, Puyallup’s Ryan Moore — coming off a playoff victory at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia — was even through 14 holes of his second round at press time.

Players at 6-under par included Spain’s Sergio Garcia and England’s Justin Rose.

SENIOR ATOP SCHWAB

Australia’s Peter Senior shot an 8-under 63 to take a one-stroke lead in the Champions Tour’s season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship.

Senior had nine birdies, an eagle and three bogeys at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.

David Frost shot 64 despite missing a short putt on No. 18. Seattle native Fred Couples was third at 65.

A $25,000 ACE

Logan Watts earned $25,000 with a hole-in-one at the PGA Assistant Championship in Port St. Lucie, Fla. The 24-year-old PGA apprentice at Louisville (Ky.) Country Club used a 4-iron on the 214-yard 17th hole. He finished at 3-under 69 — two shots back of leader Trent Rommann.

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