Published Friday, 28 February 2014
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland plays a shot during the first round. (© Getty)
Twelve months after infamously pulling out of the Honda Classic due to toothache, the Holywood golfer returned to Palm Beach Gardens in impressive form.
McIlroy, the world number eight, claimed a one-stroke advantage after day one as he shot seven birdies in a bogey-free seven-under-par round.
"I played really solid," he said. "I think the key here this week is hitting fairways and greens.
"It is ball-striker's golf course. If you can keep the ball in play and give yourself birdie chances, that is the name of the game here."
The Ulsterman's highlights included a long putt for birdie at the par-four 11th and an excellent bunker shot at the last to set up another birdie chance.
In second place was American Russell Henley on six under, followed by Rory Sabbatini, William McGirt and Welshman Jamie Donaldson in a three-way tie for third at five under.
© UTV News