Rory McIlroy was satisfied with his first outing after an injury-enforced absence, having carded a bogey-free three-under 69 in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
McIlroy last played at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in October last year, where he finished tied 63rd. Falling to 11th in the world and failing to win a major since 2014, McIlroy knows this is a big year for his career.
Despite his long layoff from competitive golf, McIlroy appeared relatively comfortable on the course Thursday, playing alongside first-round co-leader and defending champion Tommy Fleetwood (-6) and world number one Dustin Johnson (Par).
"I sort of knew what I was expecting out there, but at the same time, you never really know," McIlroy said after his round. "First competitive round in over a hundred days, so it's a little bit different.
"But I did well. I stayed patient. I gave myself loads of chances and started the day with 11 straight pars, so I was trying to stay as patient as possible, so it was nice to birdie three of the last seven there and get in under 70."
Rust can become a factor after extended time off, but McIlroy said he felt comfortable mentally and physically during the first round.
"Really pleased, actually. I played very solid," McIlroy said. "I think only missed one or two greens, so gave myself plenty of chances.
"Drove the ball well. Iron play was pretty good. So I just need to keep doing that over the next three days and I should have a chance. I was proud of myself the way I hung in there."
Just three shots off the pace after the first round, McIlroy's goal to win remained intact.
"My expectation coming into this week was that I could win, but I think after the first day, seeing where my game's at and playing alongside two of the most in-form players in the world right now, I feel like I'm not that far away."
21 de mayo 2018
|Salah is ´definitely´ world´s best - Lovren|
|Rhinos captain Watkins ruled out for eight months|
|No clue - Klopp defiant over Can to Juventus claims|
|Younis tips Babar for Pakistan greatness|
|Germany squad numbers hint at World Cup good news for Neuer|
|WATCH: Moto3 rider makes spectacular jump over crashed rival|
|Leaving out Morata ´painful´ for Spain boss Lopetegui|
|Gustard to leave England role for Harlequins|
|Nainggolan retires from Belgium duty after World Cup snub|
|Spain striker Morata misses out on World Cup selection|
|LeBron or Kawhi could lead Lakers to the Finals - World Peace|
|Serena steps up Roland Garros training ahead of French Open|
|Nainggolan left out of Belgium´s World Cup squad|
|The long goodbye: Iniesta sits alone in Camp Nou after final Barcelona match|
|Wane to leave Warriors at end of season|
|Dr Fury will see you now - Tyson plans future career in medicine|
|Harden, D´Antoni rue ´soft´ Rockets performance in Warriors drubbing|
|Liverpool players can change their lives in Kiev, says Gerrard|
|Real Madrid v Liverpool: Can great deeds of the past fuel the bid for Champions League glory?|
|Wash your mouth out! - Curry´s expletive outburst earns scolding from mother|
|Rakitic lost for words as Iniesta heads for Barcelona exit|
|Conte: Chelsea must overhaul squad to change style|
|Johnston: Liverpool can´t lose Suarez, Coutinho and Salah!|
|Messi: I like Griezmann, he´s one of the best|
|Ohtani says he´s not good enough for Home Run Derby yet|
|Mendy: France are eyeing World Cup glory|
|Scott accepts two-week ban for Walker punch|
|Braves rally for six runs in the ninth to defeat Marlins|
|MLS Review: Red Bulls upstage Atlanta thanks to Wright-Phillips brace|
|Warriors breeze past Rockets in game three|
|We have a quality squad – Man City chairman hints at caution in transfer market|
|Wise cruises to maiden PGA Tour victory at Byron Nelson|
|Matic: United can fight for Premier League and Champions League with experience|
|Golden Knights GM on Stanley Cup Finals berth: I don´t know how we did it|
|I did a ´s*** job´ defending LeBron James – Morris|
|Dembele suffers sprained right ankle|
|We know Fellaini´s not going to renew with United – Mirabelli suggests Milan move|
|Cavs´ Lue not satisfied with just one win|
|They even whistled at Torres – Simeone backs Griezmann|
|I arrived as a boy, I leave as a man – Iniesta in emotional Barcelona farewell|
|Lingard: Wembley loss my worst feeling in football|
|Cahill: Conte uncertainty affecting Chelsea|
|Sarri has run out of time – Napoli chief De Laurentiis|
|Barca boss Valverde salutes departing Iniesta|
|I feel like I´ve been run over by a truck or had 15 pints - Crutchlow|
|Four sent off as Ajaccio win chaotic Le Havre play-off on penalties|
20 de mayo 2018
|Sweden win shoot-out to retain world title|
|De Vrij penalty was destiny for Inter - Icardi|
|PSG? Maybe one day - Pogba coy over long-term future at Manchester United|
|Messi wins fifth European Golden Shoe|
|Gattuso calls for more malice at Milan|
|Barcelona 1 Real Sociedad 0: Coutinho stunner lights up Iniesta´s farewell|
|Lazio 2 Inter 3: Spalletti´s men seal Champions League qualification with stunning comeback|
|Royals reach play-offs as Kings XI come up short|
|Nadal sees clearly after Rome rain is gone|
|Double whammy for Zverevs as Mischa bows out in Geneva|
|Atletico Madrid pay fitting tribute to tearful Torres|
|Hull FC claim derby spoils, Dragons off the bottom|
|Buzarnescu battles through as McHale impresses in Nuremberg|
|Neymar an artist who will not need special treatment - new PSG coach Tuchel|
|Atletico Madrid 2 Eibar 2: Torres bows out with a double|
|Napoli 2 Crotone 1: Milik and Callejon condemn visitors to the drop|
|Iniesta starts on Barcelona goodbye but Messi rested|
|Nadal rallies after rain break to dethrone Zverev in Rome|
|AC Milan 5 Fiorentina 1: Cutrone brace secures Europa League group stage spot|
|I think I made a fantastic decision - Garoppolo key to Sherman joining 49ers|
|FIFPro appeals to FIFA over Guerrero World Cup ban|
|Neymar made mistake joining PSG - Rivaldo|
|Simple for Simon as outstanding Yates extends Giro advantage|
|Ulster qualify for Champions Cup as Biggar makes history|