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in contention Rory McIlroy takes route 66 to share lead in the Bahamas despite ‘not playing well’

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Rory McIlroy pictured during the first round of the Hero World Challenge at Albany Golf Course in Nassau. Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Rory McIlroy pictured during the first round of the Hero World Challenge at Albany Golf Course in Nassau. Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Rory McIlroy pictured during the first round of the Hero World Challenge at Albany Golf Course in Nassau. Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

RORY McILROY came back from a double-bogey on the ninth to share the first-round lead at the Hero World Challenge after an opening six-under 66 yesterday.

The Holywood star finished joint top with American Daniel Berger and Mexico’s Abraham Ancer on the Albany course in the Bahamas.

The 32-year-old enjoyed an encouraging start, hitting birdies at the par-three second, par-four fourth and par-three fifth at the $3.5 million (€3.1m) Tiger Woods-hosted event in aid of the superstar’s foundation. The double-bogey on the ninth forced McIlroy to rally on the back nine, and he did not disappoint.

He recovered quickly, recording birdies at 10, 11, 15 and an eagle on the par-four 14th to keep himself in the mix ahead of today’s second round.

“I mean I set my standards a little higher than that of course, and today continued that way. I didn’t feel I played that well out there today,” McIlroy said.

Meanwhile, Oliver Bekker and Neil Schietekat opened with seven-under-par 65s to lead the South African Open Championship at the Gary Player Country Club.

They top the leaderboard by a shot from Bryce Easton and Lyle Rowe with former East of Ireland champion Richie O’Donovan propping up the leaderboard after struggling to an 11-over 83.

Hero World Challenge, Sky Sports, 6.30pm

South Africa Open, Sky Sports, 10.0am

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