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The Tour Report

October 31 2013

4:23 AM

McIlroy leads HSBC Champions


Rory McIlroy is looking to quickly establish that the 2013 PGA TOUR Season is over and done with for him.

Making his 2013-14 debut, McIlroy carded a 7-under 65 to take the overnight lead at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions. It's the first time McIlroy has had held an outright lead after 18 holes since the 2011 U.S. Open, which he went on to win.

"It was good, it felt good to be out there and be in control of my golf ball," McIlroy said. "It's only one round of golf, but it's definitely the way I wanted and needed to start this week."  

Two off the pace were Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Jamie Donaldson while Jordan Spieth, Tommy Fleetwood, Bubba Watson and Justin Rose each opened with 68s.

Fernandez-Castano won the European Tour's BMW Masters last week.

"I played again very, very solid golf tee to green. I left myself a lot of birdie chances and minus five to start the tournament is a pretty good result considering the circumstance," he said. "It was windy out there and there's some tricky pin positions.  Overall very, very happy with my performance."

Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who could earn Special Temporary membership on TOUR with a top-5 finish, had two double bogeys on his card but still managed a 3-under 69 that left him in a tie for eighth with Ernie Els, Graeme McDowell, Dustin Johnson and three others.