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McIlroy's 63 sets the bar in Dubai
Dubai, United Arab Emirates (SportsNetwork.com) - Rory McIlroy made an early statement on Thursday, firing a 9-under 63 to grab the clubhouse lead during the first round of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
McIlroy notched seven birdies and an eagle during the morning wave at Emirates Golf Club to close three strokes ahead of defending champion Stephen Gallacher, Julien Quesne and Richard Sterne.
"It was really nice," said McIlroy. "I played really well from tee to green, drove the ball well again; I think I only missed a couple of fairways and only missed one green where I had to really get it up and down.
"I took advantage of how I am driving the ball and just need to do more of the same the next three days."
Tiger Woods, playing in the same group as McIlroy and Gallacher, shot 4-under 68 to sit five shots back. The world No. 1 missed the 54-hole cut at last week's Farmers Insurance Open.
01/30 06:57:06 ET