While you were sleeping, or perhaps celebrating in Boston, there was an official PGA Tour and WGC event played in Shanghai. The first round of the 2013 WGC-HSBC Champions event teed off in primetime Wednesday in the United States, and when it came to a finish around 4 a.m. ET Thursday, Rory McIlroy had jumped to the top of the leaderboard with a 7-under round of 65.
It's the second straight round in the 60s for Rory, who looked to be in form earlier this week during a cash-and-giggles one-on-one exhibition match against Tiger Woods. McIlroy was No. 1 in the world this time last year, but his 2013 season was a disaster. He's showed some signs of improvement lately, posting some solid numbers in a string of tournaments in Asia this month. This event is technically a part of the PGA Tour's new 2014 wraparound schedule, but a WGC win would do plenty to redeem the miserable year and set the stage for a rebound next season.
McIlroy started on the back side at Sheshan International Golf Club, and it was apparent right away that he had his game together. The Northern Irishman rolled in six birdies on the opening side, dropping one with a bogey to go out with a sparkling 32. A bogey-free 33 coming in sealed the two-shot lead in Shanghai.
Rory's had these flashes of old form at several points this season, but can he now back it up with three more against a typically deep WGC field. Bubba Watson and Jordan Spieth are two Americans in the mix on the first page of the leaderboard, just three shots off the pace. It appears Spieth won't be slowing down at all in his sophomore season, and contention at a WGC is just the next logical step for America's best young star.
Here are the full results from the opening round in China:
|T39||Jaco VAN ZYL||E|
|T39||Hao Tong LI||E|
|T64||Miguel Angel JIMENEZ||3|
|T72||Bo VAN PELT||5|