Published Friday, 07 September 2012
Rory McIlroy with playing partner Tiger Woods at the BMW Championship. (© Getty)
The Holywood star shot an eight-under-par 64 in the first round, putting him at the top of the leaderboard alongside US players Bo Van Pelt and Webb Simpson and Canadian Graham DeLaet.
Fresh from his win at the Deutsche Bank Championship on Monday, McIlroy was delighted with his positive start at Crooked Stick in Carmel, Indiana.
"I felt like my iron-play was some of the best I've seen it all year," the two-time major winner told the Tour website.
McIlroy also credited the 50,000-strong crowd with giving him a much-needed lift.
The game of golf is in great hands with Rory - he's here to stay.
"Coming off a win and maybe feeling a little flat, you're focused from the get-go and you want to go out and shoot a good number," he explained.
Tiger Woods, who finished his first round one shot off the pace alongside Fiji's Vijay Singh, was full of praise for his young playing partner and rival - who, at 23, is 13 years younger.
"This is the next generation of guys coming out," Woods said.
"He's a nice kid, he really is. It's fun to play with him, and he's just an amazing talent. You watch him swing the club and watch him putt and play - he doesn't have a lot of weaknesses.
"You can see that in the next decade or so, as he really matures and understands some of the nuances of the game, he's only going to get better. And that's fun to see."
Meanwhile, Portrush star Graeme McDowell is also competing at Crooked Stick and shot a four-under-par-68 in his first round.
Although he had been reasonably happy with his performance, he was disappointed to have his day marred by an incident involving a leafy twig.
"In the process of addressing my golf ball, I've grazed the top of the leaf and I'm deemed to have touched a loose impediment in a hazard and that's a two-shot penalty," he explained.
"Despite the fact nothing's moved and the line hasn't improved ... It's a tough lesson."
Dubliner Padraig Harrington's first round saw him finish on a two-under-par 70.