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Rory McIlroy has not won a tournament since September 2016
Honda Classic first round leaderboard
-4 A Noren (Swe), W Simpson; -3 J Thomas (US), M Hoffmann (US), D Berger (US), M Hughes (Can), L Oosthuizen (SA); Selected others: -1 T Pieters (Bel); E T Woods (US), G McDowell (NI), T Fleetwood (Eng); +1 S Lowry (Ire); +2 S Garcia (Spa), R McIlroy (NI); +4 I Pouler (Eng)
Full leaderboard

Rory McIlroy carded a two-over par 72 to finish six shots off the lead after the first round of the Honda Classic, while Tiger Woods is four shots behind the leaders.

Sweden’s Alex Noren and American Webb Simpson shot 66 to lead on four under, with PGA Champion Justin Thomas a shot back in a five-way tie for third.

England’s Tommy Fleetwood and Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell shot 70s.

Masters winner Sergio Garcia finished level with McIlroy in Palm Beach.

Four-time major winner McIlroy said before the tournament he felt he was close to securing a first win since September 2016.

But his round unravelled with bogeys on the sixth and seventh and he finished with a double bogey on the last.

So far in 2018 the Northern Irishman has tied for third, finished second, missed a cut and tied for 20th as he builds up to the first major of the year at Augusta National in April.

Woods, a 14-time major winner, faired slightly better as he continued his comeback from back surgery.

The 42-year-old was two under after four holes before a bogey at his seventh hole and a double-bogey at his 12th proved costly.

“I feel like I’m really not that far off,” said Woods. “I felt like I hit the ball really well, and it was tough out there,”

Noren, a nine-times European Tour winner, birdied his final hole to take the club house lead, before he was joined by Simpson, who also carded five birdies and a bogey in his 66.

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