McIlroy co-leader after one in Abu Dhabi

Rory McIlroy makes no bones about his goals in golf, he wants to be the No. 1 ranked player in the world.

He is starting his 2012 season off on the right foot for reaching that goal.

The 22-year old star was paired with the current No. 1 ranked player in the world, Luke Donald and former No. 1 ranked player in the world Tiger Woods during the first round of the HSBC Golf Championship.

He bested them both, carding a five-under, 67, to share the lead with Robert Karlsson.

McIlroy came out of the gates hot, with three birdies in a row from holes 11 through 13. Beginning his round on the back nine.

Bogeys on No. 14 and 17 would cost him two strokes, he posted four more birdies on his way to firing his five-under, 67.

“It’s a nice way to start the competitive season, I suppose.” said McIlroy after his opening round.

“I didn’t feel like I played that good. I definitely didn’t strike the ball as good as I have been the last couple of weeks. I think it’s just because your first competitive round of the season, card in your hand, you can get a little bit tentative or a little apprehensive.”

Both Woods and Donald did no have the best starts to their opening rounds as McIlroy did.

The current and past No. 1 player in the world is four shot off the pace of the leaders at -1, as the former No. 1 player in the world is three back after carding a two-under, 70.

“It felt the same as it had from Oz to the World Challenge to here,” said Woods on the state of his game.

“I controlled my ball all day and just had a hard time getting a feel for these greens. They are grainy enough where I just didn’t quite read them right, and I hit them good, and then the grain would take it, not take it. It was just difficult.”

McIlroy has three top-5 finishes in Abu Dhabi and will to continue his good play; other than some arid drives, from round one, throughout the weekend to get his first win at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

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