Rory McIlroy — AP
Rory, the winner of this event back in 2012, opened with a bogey-free 63 to lead the field in Florida, doing it with basically the complete game it takes to go around PGA National without a single square on your card.
McIlroy's game has really improved over the last few months, with a win at the Australian Open back in early December and some solid play at the Accenture a week ago.
But now comes the tough part for Rory. He has to follow up that impressive round on Thursday with another solid round on Friday to halt his recent run on the PGA Tour of weak rounds after impressive ones.
A year ago when McIlroy was really struggling he tossed out the occasionally sub-67 round, but it was the next day that got him. In his last six rounds of 66 or lower on the PGA Tour, Rory failed to break 71 in his next round, meaning even when things start to click, it doesn't exactly mean he's going to cruise to victory.
But this round looked a bit different. Rory was in control of his golf swing from start to finish, dialing in irons, burying lengthy putts and just dominating a golf course that saw big names like Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson fail to break par.
We all knew things would turn around because the kid is just too talented not to have a week where everything clicks, and if this is the week where that's the case it couldn't come at a better time with Augusta National right around the corner for these players.
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