Rory McIlroy makes disappointing start at Genesis Invitational

Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy struggled with a two-over 73 to be nine shots off the pace after the first round of the Genesis Invitational at Pacific Palisades on Thursday.

McIlroy is level with Scotland’s Russell Knox following his level par round, which included two birdies and two bogeys, but a disappointing second nine when he failed to pick up any shots.

England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick shot a strong five-under 66 to be equal second.

The 26-year-old, who is ranked 20th in the world but is yet to win on the PGA Tour, was two shots behind Sam Burns after his 64, with another American in Max Homa also sharing second.

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy.

Starting on the back nine, Fitzpatrick missed a five-footer for a bogey on the 13th which cancelled out a birdie on the 11th.

He recovered with birdies at 14 and 16 before beginning his second nine with a superb eagle three on the first, sinking a 25-foot putt, before picking up another stroke on the seventh in a bogey-free homeward leg.

Starting on the front nine, Burns also eagled the first with a long putt, added three birdies against one bogey before the turn, then sizzled on the way home with birdies on his last three holes.

Eight players were tied for fourth at four under, with world No 1 Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Brooks Koepka among a group on three under.

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