McIlroy finally gets into the swing after shaky opening
RORY McILROY fought the mummy of all battles with his golf swing at the Egyptian Open in Cairo yesterday.
Ireland's World No 9 finished with a hat-trick of birdies to sneak under par and spare his blushes. A first-round 71 left him tied 22nd -- six shy of leader Alessandro Tadini's sizzling 65.
McIlroy (21) was hot favourite to win at Mirage City Golf Club this week after being paid a reputed €200,000 to play in and promote this Challenge Tour event.
Yet he looked more likely to miss the cut as he carded four bogeys, two birdies and nine pars on his first 15 holes.
Having made subtle adjustments to his swing since the Ryder Cup, McIlroy admitted that his front nine of one-over-par 37 was "probably the worst nine I've played all year".
"I hit two fairways and three greens which tells the story really -- I think I'd 14 putts on the front nine for one-over and got up and down from a flowerbed on the ninth, so you're probably getting the picture there," he said.
"I spent two hours on the range this morning working on the swing changes I've been trying to make, but I didn't quite trust it on the course.
"But I stuck with it on the back nine, played a bit better and made three nice birdies to finish, which was great. I'm happy to shoot one-under as it could have been worse.
"I still feel I can go out in the morning, carry on the way I finished today, make a few birdies and get right back in it."
Elsewhere, Colm Moriarty opened with a level-par 72, but Gary Murphy needs a miracle to make today's halfway cut after his first-round 78.