Rory McIlroy: "If I hadn't shot something in the 60s I would have been pretty disappointed"

The four-time major winner is teeing it up in Johannesburg this week for the BMW South Africa Open

BY Cian Roche 18:30 Thursday 12 January 2017, 18:30 12 Jan 2017

Image: Kamran Jebreili AP/Press Association Images

Rory McIlroy kicked off his 2017 off in smart fashion, shooting an opening round 67 at the BMW South Africa Open in Johannesburg.

The Holywood golfer endured a tricky start, carding two bogeys and three birdies but found his rhythm shortly after. Four consecutive birdies from 14 to 17 saw him shoot up the leaderboard and finish his day in a five-way tie for second position. 

"I started off pretty solidly and hit a lot of good tee shots," he said after his round. "I was probably giving myself a good few chances at the start of the round, but wasn't able to take any of them then.

"Once I got onto 14 I made a nice four-in-a-row. The back nine - our front nine - was a little bit more adventurous.

"I'm happy with a solid opening round and being right up there from the start."

McIlroy is continuing to get to grips with a new set of clubs for the year ahead which include Callaway woods and irons, Vokey wedges and an Odessy putter. He admitted, however, conditions had become more favourable so he didn't really have to test himself as much during the opening round.

"From when we played the Pro-Am on Tuesday, the greens have firmed up a little bit which was nice to see. I was quite surprised by some of the pitches I made to the greens at the start of the round, how much they skidded on.

"But I mean, conditions were perfect. There's not much wind and if I hadn't shot something in the 60s I would have been pretty disappointed."

McIlroy also complimented the crowds who showed out in great numbers this morning. 

"It was great, it's awesome to play in front of crowds like this. Teeing off at 7.10am and the first tee is lined with people both sides. It's really cool and great to see. Hopefully they keep coming out for the remainder of the week.

 "You can sense the excitement and sense that people are really enthusiastic to come out and watch. It's great, all of us enjoyed it out there."

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