Rory McIlroy one shot off the lead in Hong Kong Open
World number 10 McIlroy is sporting a new blond rinse in Hong Kong
Rory McIlroy lies one shot off the lead after the first round of the Hong Kong Open thanks to an opening round of seven-under-par 63 on Thursday.
Mark Brown leads on eight under, with McIlroy and Jeev Milkha Singh second.
Graeme McDowell and Damien McGrane are among the players tied for sixth on five under while Gareth Maybin is a further two shots back on three under.
Shane Lowry and Paul McGinley are two under, with Peter Lawrie on level and Darren Clarke struggling on two over.
World number 10 McIlroy carded eight birdies and one bogey in his round while McDowell, now one place above his compatriot in the world rankings, registered six birdies and a bogey in his 65.
Ballyclare man Maybin posted six birdies and three bogeys.
After his round, McIlroy said he was very happy with his start.
"I got off to a really nice start as I was three under after my first nine holes and although I missed some birdie chances I was happy to bounce back and finish with a good birdie on the ninth," said the Holywood player.
"I felt like my game was coming together in the final round in China and I want to continue in that vein this week and kick on from here.
"I played really well but I'm still working on a few things to do with my swing and it's starting to feel a little more natural.
"There are always courses that you particularly like, and this is one of those for me, so if I keep playing the same way I should have a very good chance of winning this title," added McIlroy.
McDowell was happy with the "very solid start" that he made.
"I played really well and missed only one green - I'm feleing good about my game.
"The greens are tough to read and I had a few other chances I could have made but five under is a pretty solid start," he commented.
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