Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship R1

McIlroy off to a perfect start

January 21-24
Abu Dhabi GC, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
$8,000,000
Round 2, Round 3, Round 4


Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship 2021 R1 - McIlroy off to a perfect start
(Getty Images)


Rory McIlroy got his season off to the perfect start as the Northern Irishman carded a stunning eight under 64 in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, the first Rolex Series event of the 2021 Race to Dubai.


The four-time Major winner is still chasing his maiden victory at the prestigious tournament, despite a remarkable record which includes four runner-up finishes, three third place finishes, a top five and a top 15. But his opening 64 was his lowest ever round in 11 appearances at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

“I knew 65 is the best I’ve shot here and I’ve shot it a few times, so I thought let’s try to go one better on the next nine and I was able to do that. Maybe played slightly better on our front nine, but I holed some really nice putts coming in for birdie s. It was obviously a lovely way to start the year.”



McIlroy carded two birdies in the opening three holes, having teed off at the par five tenth which he duly birdied, and coasted to six more in a flawless round which left him one stroke clear at the top.

“A lot of it was very good. I felt like I drove the ball well for the most part, a couple of swirly ones in the middle of the round. Distance control was really good. I think I started off really well. Hit a lot of nice iron shots. Honestly it was probably the best I’ve putted these greens in Abu Dhabi probably in my whole career. I’ve shot some really good scores here but I holed some really good ones today. And I’ve always struggled to read them here, but I sort of got my eye in early and kept me going.”


Leading the chasing pack was three-time Rolex Series winner Tyrrell Hatton, who signed for a seven under 65 which included a pair of eagles in his first nine holes – opening his account for the season with a three at the tenth before picking up another eagle at the ninth.

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“I’m really happy with that,” said Hatton. “I think I got away with it, ten holes, I hit one fairway, so that wasn’t ideal. The wind certainly picked up as the round went on, which I think the guys going out this afternoon, it’s going to be a lot tougher for them. Obviously I can only play with what’s in front of me and I’m happy with the job I managed to do in the end.

“Depending on the wind direction, if you can take advantage of them, you to need to do that. Like I said I was able to do that today and hopefully I can do that over the next few days.”

Paraguay’s Fabrizio Zanotti was a shot further back on six under, while Frenchman Romain Langasque and Rafa Cabrera-Bello of Spain shared fifth place on five under. Defending champion and reigning Race to Dubai champion Lee Westwood opened with a three under 69.

“I am (travelling) from Paraguay,” said Zanotti. “It’s very tough to get the flights and then to go back home. So to be here playing, it feels great, really. I didn’t practice too much at home. I was with covid, I have (had) it already, but I just have enough time to come here and at the end I just finished practising six days before coming, and I was feeling good. The practice rounds were good, also, and today I think I do what I practiced.”

Play was suspended due to darkness with round one set to restart at 7:40am local time.





Pos.
Player
Thru
To Par
R1
1
Rory McIlroy
F
-8
64
2
Tyrrell Hatton
F
-7
65
3
Fabrizio Zanotti
F
-6
66
T4
Romain Langasque
F
-5
67
T4
Rafa Cabrera Bello
F
-5
67
T6
Ignacio Elvira Mijares
F
-4
68
T6
Lucas Herbert
F
-4
68
T6
Matt Wallace
F
-4
68
T6
Victor Perez
F
-4
68
T10
Justin Rose
11
-3
T10
Jason Scrivener
8
-3
T10
Joost Luiten
11
-3
T10
Wade Ormsby
F
-3
69
T10
James Morrison
F
-3
69
T10
Lee Westwood
F
-3
69
T10
Mikko Korhonen
F
-3
69
T10
Stephen Gallacher
F
-3
69
T10
Steven Brown
F
-3
69
T10
Kiradech Aphibarnrat
F
-3
69
T20
George Coetzee
11
-2
T20
Grant Forrest
6
-2
T20
Matthew Fitzpatrick
F
-2
70
T20
Laurie Canter
F
-2
70
T20
Jamie Donaldson
9
-2
T20
Padraig Harrington
F
-2
70
T20
David Horsey
F
-2
70
T20
Bernd Wiesberger
F
-2
70
T20
Oliver Wilson
F
-2
70
T20
Andrea Pavan
7
-2
T20
Eddie Pepperell
8
-2
T20
Aaron Rai
10
-2
T32
Ian Poulter
F
-1
71
T32
Thomas Pieters
10
-1
T32
Callum Shinkwin
13
-1
T32
Antoine Rozner
13
-1
T32
Matthias Schwab
F
-1
71
T32
Michael Lorenzo-Vera
9
-1
T32
Graeme McDowell
10
-1
T32
Danny Willett
12
-1
T32
Julian Suri
8
-1
T32
Sebastian Soderberg
8
-1
T32
Henrik Stenson
F
-1
71
T32
Richard Sterne
8
-1
T32
Brandon Stone
10
-1
T32
Marc Warren
7
-1
T32
Rasmus Højgaard
10
-1
T32
Jazz Janewattananond
6
-1
T32
Scott Hend
F
-1
71
T32
Kurt Kitayama
7
-1
T32
Søren Kjeldsen
F
-1
71
T32
Haotong Li
F
-1
71
T32
Nino Bertasio
F
-1
71
T32
Lucas Bjerregaard
8
-1
T32
Kristoffer Broberg
9
-1
T55
Alexander Björk
9
E
T55
Thomas Bjørn
9
E
T55
Christiaan Bezuidenhout
12
E
T55
Gaganjeet Bhullar
F
E
72
T55
Marcus Armitage
10
E
T55
Nicolas Colsaerts
11
E
T55
Ross Fisher
F
E
72
T55
Ashley Chesters
F
E
72
T55
Lorenzo Gagli
8
E
T55
David Lipsky
10
E
T55
Alexander Levy
F
E
72
T55
Tom Lewis
F
E
72
T55
Francesco Laporta
F
E
72
T55
David Law
7
E
T55
Scott Jamieson
6
E
T55
Maximilian Kieffer
F
E
72
T55
Benjamin Hebert
8
E
T55
Richard Bland
F
E
72
T55
Andy Sullivan
F
E
72
T55
Jordan Smith
F
E
72
T55
Justin Walters
8
E
T55
Robert MacIntyre
F
E
72
T55
Ahmed Marjan
F
E
72
T55
Adrian Otaegui
10
E
T55
Chris Paisley
F
E
72
T55
Robert Rock
9
E
T55
Shubhankar Sharma
12
E
T82
Kalle Samooja
8
1
T82
Ross McGowan
10
1
T82
Tapio Pulkkanen
F
1
73
T82
Alvaro Quiros
8
1
T82
Guido Migliozzi
F
1
73
T82
Edoardo Molinari
6
1
T82
Paul Waring
F
1
73
T82
Justin Thomas
F
1
73
T82
Joel Stalter
F
1
73
T82
Ashun Wu
7
1
T82
Garrick Higgo
7
1
T82
Calum Hill
9
1
T82
Raphael Jacquelin
8
1
T82
Martin Kaymer
12
1
T82
Pablo Larrazabal
9
1
T82
Ryan Fox
F
1
73
T82
David Drysdale
F
1
73
T82
Sean Crocker
6
1
T82
Thomas Aiken
F
1
73
T101
Adri Arnaus
12
2
T101
Jorge Campillo
7
2
T101
Victor Dubuisson
7
2
T101
Gavin Kyle Green
F
2
74
T101
Julien Guerrier
F
2
74
T101
Min Woo Lee
7
2
T101
Zander Lombard
F
2
74
T101
David Howell
F
2
74
T101
Robert Karlsson
10
2
T101
Justin Harding
11
2
T101
Matthew Southgate
11
2
T101
Jeff Winther
F
2
74
T101
Chris Wood
F
2
74
T101
Richard McEvoy
13
2
T101
Richie Ramsay
F
2
74
T116
Sami Valimaki
10
3
T116
Joachim B. Hansen
8
3
T116
Masahiro Kawamura
6
3
T116
John Catlin
F
3
75
T116
Tommy Fleetwood
10
3
T116
Thomas Detry
10
3
T122
Oliver Fisher
F
4
76
T122
Ahmad Skaik (a)
F
4
76
T122
Shane Lowry
11
4
T122
Wilco Nienaber
F
4
76
T126
Matthieu Pavon
F
5
77
T126
Renato Paratore
13
5
T126
Haydn Porteous
F
5
77
T126
Arjun Gupta
9
5
130
Dean Burmester
F
6
78
131
Marcus Kinhult
F
9
81
WD
Joakim Lagergren
WD
Joakim Lagergren
DNS
Andrew Johnston