Rory McIlroy perfectly positions himself in contention with opening round 67
Rory McIlroy is looking to put a comprehensive end to his Irish Open hoodoo.
The world number 3 registered six birdies, with just the solitary bogey, to ensure that he'd see out his opening round within two of Masters champion Danny Willett, who led the course after the first 18 at the K Club.
McIlroy got his round off to a solid start with two consecutive pars before the first birdie arrived on 3 and the Holywood sensation picked up another shot on the 6th before he reached the turn in similar style.
Willett and McIlroy exchanged birdies on the tenth green but the Englishman pulled clear by picking up three more shots before 15.
McIlroy three-putted the 14th for his only bogey but got the shot back on the 18th with a confident six-foot birdie to complete a -5 round of 67.
Among other Irish contenders are Paul Dunne, who finished in joint ninth with a respectable 70, and former tournament winner Shane Lowry who just about kept his first round to a one-under 71
"I hit the ball really well today, a lot of good iron shots, especially on my back nine," Lowry said after the round. "I feel like I probably should be at least two or three better.
"They don't give out trophies on Thursday so I'm in the tournament and looking forward to the next few days."