Rory McIlroy made a confident start to the WGC-Cadillac Match Play as he cruised to victory over an out-of-sorts Jason Dufner in California.
The top seed and world No 1 made only one birdie to halve the first, but he was then content to grind out the pars as Dufner made a string of mistakes to gift McIlroy a comfortable 5&4 win.
The new round-robin group format at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco spared Dufner an early flight home, while McIlroy will expect tougher tests against Group 1 rivals Brandt Snedeker on Thursday and reigning FedExCup champion Billy Horschel on Friday.
"I felt like tee to green I played pretty well," McIlroy told Sky Sports 4. "I didn't hole many putts and felt that the green speeds were pretty inconsistent, but did what I needed to do and we move on to tomorrow.
“It's good to win that first match. Luckily I've done that and the mindset going into tomorrow is I have to win, you have to win every match. There’s no point in thinking you can't win matches and progress here.
"I need to hole a few more putts. Jason didn't have his best stuff, obviously, so I just tried to put him under pressure from the start, tried to hit fairways, hit greens, and try and make him force a little bit. In match play, you just need to beat the person that's in front of you and I did that today.”
But Masters champion Jordan Spieth clearly found the course to his liking, and the world No 2 was an approximate six under par in his convincing 4&2 win over debutant Mikko Ilonen.
The Finn, who won the Volvo World Match Play Championship at the London Club last October, was the last man to get into the field after Phil Mickelson's withdrawal.
This Categories More News -