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Rory McIlroy hits a tee shot on the second day of the Australian Open golf tournament in Sydney on November 28, 2014 (AFP) photo:  Peter Parks
Rory McIlroy hits a tee shot on the second day of the Australian Open golf tournament in Sydney on November 28, 2014 (AFP) photo: Peter Parks
Sports

Rory McIlroy struggles on PGA Tour return

Fola Akintomide

World number one Rory McIlroy struggled on his USPGA Tour debut for the season at the Honda Classic in Florida.

The 25-year-old ended the first day eight shots behind leader Jim Herman, who recorded a five-under-par 65.

Two birdies on the last two holes of the day stopped the Northern Irishman being cut adrift from the leading pack.

McIlroy won the tournament in 2012, walked off the course in the middle of a disastrous first round in 2013, and lost a play-off in 2014.

Herman’s American compatriot Brendan Steele ended the day on four under, while Ireland’s Padraig Harrington was on three under alongside US pair Martin Flores and Patrick Reed.

Welshman Jamie Donaldson was among the players finishing on two under, while Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood were one over, along with Phil Mickelson.

Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell ended the day four over par.