Dubai: Rory McIlroy shot his lowest European Tour score in more than three years with a 9-under 63 on Thursday to take a three-shot clubhouse lead in the first round of the Dubai Desert Classic.
McIlroy grabbed an eagle and seven birdies in ideal scoring conditions on the Majlis Course, easily upstaging playing partner Tiger Woods, who was five shots back after a 68.
It was McIlroy's best European Tour round since a 63 on the opening day of the UBS Hong Kong Open in November 2010. It also displayed McIlroy's renewed confidence in his game after struggling for much of 2013. He ended last year by winning the Australian Open and then finished joint runner-up in his first event of 2014 in nearby Abu Dhabi.