McIlroy two under in Abu Dhabi

Published Thursday, 16 January 2014
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Holywood golfer Rory McIlroy got the new season underway with a two under par opening round of 70 at the Abu Dhabi Championship.

McIlroy two under in Abu Dhabi
Rory McIlroy receives a traditional Emirate 'Bisht' to mark his engagement. (© Getty)

The world number seven made a strong start with birdies on the fifth hole and 18 hole to leave him just three shots off the pace going into round two.

McIlroy was also presented with a traditional Emirate 'Bisht', which is a gown given as a gift to men who have recently become engaged, after announcing on New Year's Eve that he had proposed to his long-term girlfriend, tennis star Caroline Wozniacki.

Speaking after his round, the 24-year-old said: "I feel the benefit of ending last year well and starting of this year with a lot of hard work and stuff.

"That was my first competitive round since the start of December and I drove the balls as well as I have done in a long time, so that was very pleasing."

Belfast man Michael Hoey also started well with a three under par round of 69 on Thursday.

Meanwhile Darren Clarke ended the day two over after six bogies and five birdies, and Gareth Maybin battled his way to a 73.

Sharing the lead are Spain's Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Romain Wattel of France and Englishman Matthew Baldwin on five under.

© UTV News
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