MIAMI, March 7 (Reuters) - Tiger Woods shot an impressive six-under-par 66 for a share of the early clubhouse lead in the first round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship on Thursday while world number one Rory McIlroy struggled.
A confident Woods made nine birdies, his most since the opening round of September’s BMW Championship, to share the lead with Sweden’s Freddie Jacobson, who enjoyed eagles on the eighth and 10th holes.
McIlroy, however, appeared to still be working through his swing troubles as he found just three of 14 fairways and made six bogeys en route to a one-over 73, a disappointing score in benign conditions on the Blue Monster course at Doral.
The 23-year-old Northern Irishman was making his first start since walking off the course midway through his round at last week’s Honda Classic at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens.
McIlroy’s score benefited from an eagle on the first hole, his 10th of the day, but he looked far from the player who won five titles last season, including his second major.
“It was a bit of a struggle to be honest. Hit some good shots, hit some not-so-good shots. As I’ve been saying all week, this is a work in progress and I‘m working at it and I‘m staying patient,” said McIlroy.
“I’ve got another three rounds here to try and work on it a bit more and shoot a few good scores and we’ll see what happens.”
Woods however, was solid in all aspects of his game and impressive with his putter, the highlight being a birdie putt from 38 feet on the course’s fourth hole. (Editing by Frank Pingue)