Scottie Scheffler made a slow start at the Houston Open, as he bids to overhaul Rory McIlroy at the top of the world rankings.
Scheffler arrived in his home state of Texas knowing that a win would be enough to take him back above McIlroy to the top of the golfing tree.
Last week, he came within a whisker of achieving the feat but his third-placed finish at the World Wide Technology Championship was not enough to move him past McIlroy.
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He finished second in the Houston Open 12 months ago, meaning a win is the only result that would be good enough to overhaul McIlroy.
On a tough day for scoring at Memorial Park Golf Course, Scheffler found himself three-over after a third bogey of his round on the 10th hole.
Scheffler’s mistakes came off the tee, with his bogeys on the first and the tenth coming from wayward drives.
He holed a 41-foot monster for a birdie on the 11th to spark his round into life.
Scheffler’s troubles off the tee continued, but his excellent iron play crafted chances which he converted for birdies on 13 and 16 to get back to level-par.
His tough day off the tee was summed up on 18, as he dropped his driver in frustration after leaking another shot into the rough. He was able to make par to card a round of 70.

First Round Leaderboard

  • T1. Alex Noren, five-under
  • T1. Aaron Wise, five-under
  • 3. David Lipsky, four-under
  • T4. Justin Rose, three-under
  • T4. Trey Mullinax, three-under
  • T4. Denny McCarthy, three-under
Alex Noren had a tough time last season, but began the new campaign with four successive top-50 finishes and he surged to the clubhouse lead thanks to a round of 65 to sit alongside Aaron Wise.
Justin Rose has been tinkering with his clubs, and with a new set in the bag the Englishman produced a fine opening round of 67.
"It's been a year to forget really for the most part, but I've had six or seven weeks back at home just trying to get 100 per cent feeling good with my body,” Rose, who withdrew from the Open on the eve of the tournament due to injury, said. “So that's been the positive of the last couple of weeks is I'm feeling good."

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Luke Donald rolled back the years with an excellent start at the Nedbank Golf Challenge, and his US Ryder Cup captain counterpart Zach Johnson made a solid start in Houston with a round of 69.
Francesco Molinari is desperate to play in the Ryder Cup on home soil in Italy next year, and he played his opening 18 holes in 69 to sit at one-under.
Hideki Matsuyama was another player to struggle on the outward nine, but birdies on 11, 12 and 16 saw him open the event with a 70.
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