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Rory McIlroy three off WGC-HSBC Champions leader Haotong Li

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Highlights from the opening round of the WGC-HSBC Champions at Sheshan International Golf Club in China

Haotong Li grabbed a narrow lead at the opening round of the WGC-HSBC Champions, with Rory McIlroy among the chasing pack in Shanghai.

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Li birdied three of his opening five holes on his way to an eight-under 64 at Sheshan International Golf Club to edge ahead of nearest challenger Victor Perez.

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Defending champion Xander Schauffele sits two strokes off the pace in third alongside Matt Fitzpatrick, Adam Scott and Sungjae Im, while McIlroy recovered from a slow start to card an opening-round 67.

Image: Schauffele is bidding to become the first player to defend his WGC-HSBC Champions title

McIlroy reached the turn level-par but jumped inside the top-10 after carding five birdies in a six-hole stretch, while Louis Oosthuizen is in the group four strokes back after a hole-in-one at the par-three sixth.

Beginning on the back nine, Li opened with back-to-back birdies and picked up a shot at the par-five 14th before following a 15-foot gain at the 17th with another at the par-five next.

Image: Li tops the leaderboard on home soil

Li bounced back from a bogey at the first to hole an eight-foot eagle at the second and make a birdie at the next, as Scott followed a first-nine 32 with three consecutive birdies from the fifth to briefly move into a share of the lead.

Scott found water with his approach into the ninth - his final hole - to finish his opening with a closing bogey, while Schauffele lost his share of the leaderboard with a three-putt bogey at the eighth.

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Image: McIlroy is chasing a first World Golf Championship win since 2015

Li doubled his advantage by getting up and down from the rough to birdie the eighth, only for Perez to close the gap after cancelling out a bogey at the 17th with a two-putt birdie at the last.

McIlroy bogeyed his opening hole and found water at both the 13th and 18th in a frustrating first-nine 36, before a two-putt gain at the second sparked a run of four consecutive birdies.

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The world No 2 also picked up a shot at the seventh to get to five under and join Matthias Schwab and Corey Conners in tied-seventh, while playing partner Justin Rose - the 2017 champion - posted two eagles on his way to a three-under 69.

Watch the WGC-HSBC Champions throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage continues on Friday from 2am on Sky Sports Golf.

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