McIlroy senses signs of progress

28 September 2017 12:24:03 EST

Rory McIlroy says he is feeling more positive about his game after a good opening round in this week's British Masters.

The Northern Irishman is on the leaderboard after a three-under-par 67, equalling his lowest opening round of the year so far.

McIlroy feels the good performance at Close House in Northumberland is a sign that things are finally coming together after a frustrating year so far.

After his opening round the world number six said: "I've been seeing some positives over my game in the last week as I've practiced.

"My iron play is starting to get better. Wedge play is starting to get better.

I've been seeing some positives over my game in the last week as I've practiced.

Rory McIlroy

"Those are things that I've really struggled with this year and feel like they are going in the right direction.

"We got great conditions. I felt like I played solid enough. I didn't do anything great, but I didn't do anything really bad either."

McIlroy hit four birdies and just a single bogey on his round which leaves him four behind clubhouse leader George Coetzee.

There are five players a shot behind on six under, Alvaro Quiros, Mikko Ilonen, Mikko Korhonen and the English pair of Chris Hanson and Graeme McDowell.

Late starters, yet to make an impression on the leaderboard are defending champion Alex Noren together with Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia.

McIlroy only decided to play at the British Masters after failing to qualify for the Tour Championship.

He has not won a tournament this year and brings his season to an early end after next week's Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in St Andrews.

McIlroy is 9/1 to win the first major of 2018, the US Masters in Augusta. Sergio Garcia, this year's champion is 25/1 with Jordan Spieth priced at 15/2.

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