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After celebrating caddie's birthday, Rory McIlroy shoots 66 at RBC Canadian

After celebrating caddie's birthday, Rory McIlroy shoots 66 at RBC Canadian

HAMILTON, Ontario – Rory McIlroy celebrated his caddie Harry Diamond’s 40th birthday Wednesday and the Northern Irishman admitted to having “a few glasses of wine.” He also admitted the celebration was at least partially responsible for his slow start on Day 1 at the RBC Canadian Open, but it was a temporary setback.

McIlroy closed with a bogey-free 66 and was four off the lead at Hamilton Golf & Country Club, where he won his first of two Canadian Open titles in 2019.

“I hadn't seen the back nine. Only played the front nine in the pro-am, so I was sort of happy enough to get out of there in even par and not make a bogey,” McIlroy said. “But once I got that nine holes out of the way I knew there were some chances on that front side and played probably much better on that front side. Four birdies there, no bogeys was a good day's work.”

McIlroy birdied the first, fifth, seventh and eighth holes thanks to a predictably sublime ball-striking round. He was second for the day in strokes gained: tee to green and first in strokes gained: approach.

It was a particularly encouraging round considering that McIlroy spent last week in Italy at a friend’s wedding and only hit about 150 golf balls on Sunday before flying to Canada to prepare.

“Not that I feel rusty, I feel like I've played enough golf to keep myself [in form]," he said, "but last week was a good week to just reset and sort of start again."