McIlroy Leads HSBC-Champions by Two after Opening 65

Rory McIlroy looked to be in old form as he opened the HSBC-Champions in Shanghai, China with a nearly blemish free 7-under 65 to take the lead by two heading into round two over Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Jamie Donaldson.

This marked the first time since his last win in Dubai last November he has held the outright lead after any round of a tournament.

The timing for McIlroy could not be more crucial and come at a better time for the Northern Irishmen.

Not only has he failed to win a tournament, he also sits at No. 62 in the Race to Dubai with only two tournaments remaining to get into the top 60. Qualifying him for the season-ending World Tour Championship in Dubai.

"So, yeah, it's a great start," McIlroy said after his round.  "It's only 18 holes.  It's only one round of golf but it's definitely the way I wanted and needed to start this week, keeping in mind that I obviously want to play myself into Dubai and try to pick up my first win of the season, as well."

"It felt good to be out there and in control of my golf ball."

"It's obviously frustrating when you've had a couple of seasons previous where you've had success, and not being able to emulate that," he continued. "The way I look at it, if I have a 25-year career, nine months isn't actually that long. I wouldn't say `restless,' but obviously there's a point in time where you're thinking to yourself, `Right, come on, let's get this back on track.' But I've tried to stay as patient as possible."

McIlroy ended his first round carding eight birdies to his lone birdie, which came at the par-4, 11th. His second hole of the day beginning his round on No. 10.

A string of five birdies over a seven hole stretch from Nos. 14 through 2 saw his score go from 2-under, to 6-under very quickly, allowing him yo vault into the lead.

McIlroy holds his first 18-hole lead on the PGA Tour since the 2013 Wells Fargo Championship, where he was part of a seven-way tie after for the lead. He also boasts a great track record at the Shenshan International Golf Club, having finished 4th (2009, 5th (2010) and T4 (2011) in his three previous starts, also sharing the course record at 9-under 63.

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