McIlroy's tough year continues at Irish Open

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McIlroy shot 74 in his first round at the Irish Open.
June 27, 2013

MAYNOOTH, Ireland (AP) -- Rory McIlroy admits he's "feeling lost" after carding a 2-over 74 on the opening day of the Irish Open on Thursday.

McIlroy managed just two birdies in wet and overcast conditions at the Carton House course on the outskirts of Dublin.

It left the Official World Golf Rankings No. 2 golfer trailing seven shots behind clubhouse leader and playing partner, Shane Lowry.

Once again, McIlroy struggled with the driver.

"At the moment, no aspects of my game are strong and I'm just feeling a bit lost at the moment," he said.

"It feels good on the range and I can hit all the shots but when I get out on the course it really does not seem to be there.

"Off the tee, I am missing one right and then missing one left and it's just not going where I want it. It gets you in two minds every time you are playing a tee shot.

"The game is just not coming easy to me at the moment and while I was struggling at this point last year, I was able to turn the corner in the middle of the summer and have a great end to my season.

"I don't know whether it's a matter of trying to play my way out of it or just keep grinding away on the range or whatever."

Lowry captured the Irish Open as an amateur in 2009. Earlier this year, Lowry also humbled his good friend McIlory in bundling him out of the opening round of the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona.

Now he has again upstaged McIlroy in a display that included six birdies and just one bogey.

"I was just chomping at the bit to get out there this morning and I was just trying to play me way into the tournament nicely so I'm really pleased with a 67," he said.

"But it's really a privilege to be able to play on my home golf course, stay in my own house, and have all my family and friends up home to watch me. What more could a professional golfer want?"

Denmark's Thomas Bjorn, who also played with Lowry and McIlroy and who won the event in 2006 when it was last played at Carton House, shared second place on 4 under with England's Paul Casey and Australia's Andrew Dodt.