McIlroy and Lowry struggle on the opening day of 'Asia's Major'

Rikard Karlberg leads on -8 at the WGC-HSBC Champions

BY Daniel Kelly 14:25 Thursday 27 October 2016, 14:25 27 Oct 2016

Picture by Ng Han Guan AP/Press Association Images

Sweden's Rikard Karlberg leads the WGC-HSBC Champions event on -8 after an opening round of 64 in Shanghai.

The World number 87 leads by a shot from America's Rickie Fowler, with Russel Knox, Daniel Berger and Hideki Matsuyama a shot further behind.

Karlberg is playing in his first WGC event, and admitted the standard of the field in China, had no effect on his performance in Shenzen.

"When I teed off today, it still felt like another tournament. That's what I was mentally going into to feel and I was able to do that today."

"It was just about -- it's always the same thing. Doesn't matter which tournament it is: One shot at a time, stay committed to every shot. That's what I told myself about and that's my goal with this whole week."

Rory McIlroy, has returned to action for the first time since the Ryder Cup is seven shots off the lead on -1. The World number three shot two birdies and a bogey in his round of 71.

Despite the opening round, McIlroy still feels he can be in contention.

"I probably could have squeezed a couple more out of the round. I sort of was trying to stay as patient as I could... I feel I did everything okay. I just didn't really get it going. Didn't really get any momentum going."

"But I'll go out there tomorrow and know that I feel like I'm playing well enough to shoot a score in the mid 60s and get myself back into it."

Shane Lowry shot a 73 and ended the day on +2. The Offaly golfer is one of 31 players in the 78-man field to finish over-par.

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