Lowry well placed to challenge at Pebble Beach Pro

Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry both made strong starts to the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in America, with Paul Dunne and Graeme McDowell not far behind them. "And I know with the right dedication and working on the right things that that could be achievable for me", said McIlroy, who has returned reinvigorated and with a new hunger since recovering from the rib injury that disrupted his season through the 2017 campaign.

The Pebble Beach and the Spyglass course have traditionally been considered the easier of the three courses, while players tend to struggle more with the Monterrey Peninsula course.

"This environment here, you have to embrace the fact that it's going to be a slow day, it's going to take a little while, but enjoy the people you're with".

"I feel like it's the start of something and not the end of something", McIlroy said.

He hit nine of 13 fairways and 15 of 18 greens in regulation but said he expected a tougher challenge when he plays the par-72 Pebble Beach Golf Links on Saturday. Though it wasn't a gimme by any means, McIlroy missed the birdie, and faced a disappointing tap-in par.

Mickelson, who last won at Pebble Beach in 2012 when he shot a final-round 64 and paired on the final day with Tiger Woods, found some form last week at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where he was in contention and ended up tied for fifth.

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At doubles, Broda & Miller have played one, with Crose & Spence at two and Chong & Ally Bojczuk rounding things out at three. Second-ranked Luke Pletcher scored a couple takedowns in the first period and made them stand up in a 5-4 decision.

Of the Australians aside from Percy, Jason Day began and finished his round of 3 under 69 with bogeys but did well enough in between at Spyglass Hill to be in a share of 32nd position, Rod Pampling is 53rd after his round of 69 at Monterey Peninsula, while Aaron Baddeley and Greg Chalmers opened with rounds of 71 at the same course to be 71st.

"I feel like there's nothing in my way", McIlroy said.

Defending champion Jordan Spieth managed to get going, shooting a five-under 66 on Monterey Peninsula to be tied for 23rd. "I'm very optimistic about this weekend and I'm optimistic about the year".

Armour's sumptuous shot hit the green, caught a slope and started tracking right for the cup.

Current number one Dustin Johnson heads the field on the California coast, though his ranking could be threatened if number two Jon Rahm wins. "But if you play well, you can birdie and score low on all three [courses]. It's just about gathering trophies and trying to be the best golfer that I can be".

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