Rory McIlroy stutters to one-over 73 in first round of WGC-Cadillac Championship
Last Updated: March 8, 2013 5:19pm
Rory McIlroy vowed to remain patient in his quest to regain top form after enduring another difficult day in Florida.
While playing partner Tiger Woods was powering his way into a share of the first-round lead at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, McIlroy continued to struggle with hsi all-round game as he laboured to a one-over 73.
A week after he walked out of the Honda Classic citing toothache, the world No 1 began at Doral with three pars but then bogeyed the next two before getting a birdie putt to drop at the 15th - his sixth.
He gave the shot back at 18, but he atoned for a wayward drive at the par-five first with a remarkable second to 18 feet and rolled in the putt for a welcome eagle.
However, he then bogeyed the next three holes - two of them with three putts - although he salvaged respectibility with birdies at the seventh and eighth to finish seven off the lead.
"It was a bit of a struggle to be honest," said McIlroy, who has promised never to repeat his walk-off at PGA National last week.
"I hit some good shots, I hit some not-so good shots. As I have been saying all week this is a work in progress, I am staying patient and I have another three rounds to work on it more and shoot a few good scores.
"I just had to play each hole as it came and shoot the best score possible. It was nice to sneak in a couple of birdies in the last three holes and make it look somewhat respectable, even though everyone seems to be going pretty low out there; it was a day where it was perfect scoring conditions.
"I wasn't putting as much pressure on myself and that's why I didn't get as frustrated. If I had played like that last week I would have been not so happy.
"But I understand it's a work in progress and hopefully it will come together soon."