Rory McIlroy reflects on poor start to season

Not my day: Rory McIlroy
Not my day: Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy’s bad start to 2013 continued as the world number one lost out in the opening round of the WGC Match Play in Arizona.

The Northern Ireland golfer lost on the final green to fellow Irishman Shane Lowry to become the third top seed in the last four years to exit in the first round.

Tiger Woods and Lee Westwood were also knocked out on Thursday.

Woods lost 2&1 to Charles Howell III, while Westwood was beaten by Rafael Cabrera Bello of Spain.

The opening day of action at the course had been postponed because of snow and the first round is still to be completed after play was delayed until 13:00 local time on Thursday.

McIlroy changed club and ball suppliers at the start of this year in a lucrative deal but has struggled for form since, missing the cut in his opening event of the year in Abu Dhabi last month.

And McIlroy knows he has plenty of work to do after his defeat to a player ranked 68 in the world who secured victory with a dramatic final three-foot putt.

“I drove really well, but couldn’t take advantage of that,” McIlroy said. “If I’d hit my irons better it could have been a different story.

“I could have been three or four up early on, but let him get back into the match and he had a nice little run.”

Lowry, meanwhile said: “My knees were knocking over that final putt.

“I was very nervous going out and quite mad at myself for that, but I had a bit of luck that I needed and said to my caddie that he’s not going to be liking this at all.”

In the other all-Irish clash Graeme McDowell defeated Padraig Harrington one-up.