Rory McIlroy didn’t burn up the golf course at The Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championships early Thursday morning, but he got off to a much improved start, if you compare it to last years appearance. He admitted in a press conference after his opening 18, that he left a couple of strokes on the course, and could well have improved on his two under performance.
Finishing with a bogey-free -2 under par on Thursday, McIlroy is only three shots off of the pace set by Raphael Cabrera-Bello from Spain, Romain Wattel from France, and Matthew Baldwin from England.
On a golf course that requires some accuracy off the tee, McIlroy drove the ball well all day, and had some good looks, but was able to only convert two for birdies.
He hit 15 of 18 fairways, and with his new golf ball, looks to have his game back on-track as we ease into the new season. I picked McIlroy to win this tournament, and am not ready to back-off that prediction. When this youngster starts hitting his drives, all he needs is for some putts to start falling, and he will be on his way to another great season.
After an announcement last year at this event that introduced Rory as the new employee at Nike, The two-time major champion had the worse season of his young career. He missed the cut while playing the first two rounds with fellow Nike employee, Tiger Woods, and the erratic play continued for most of the season.
He showed some life after bailing out at the Honda Classic, with a good third round at Doral, and a solid second place finish at the Valero Texas Open. The poor showing would continue for most of the season until he picked up the win in Australia during the last week before the holiday break.
Now that he has proposed to his girlfriend, Tennis Star, Caroline Wozniacki,and has his attitude repaired , along with some work on his game, I think Rory McIlroy is going to have a nice campaign in 2014.
I’m anxious see him in the majors this year, and am expecting him to improve on his 7th place World Ranking soon!
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