McIlroy feeling 'a little different' but happy with injury return

Casey is back on the European Tour after a three-year absence

Casey is back on the European Tour after a three-year absenceROSS KINNAIRD GETTY IMAGES

The former world number one hit 17 greens in a three-under-par 69.

Give Rory an A, even if he was slightly apprehensive about his return.

"(It's my) first competitive round in over a hundred days, so it's a little bit different. "But I did well".

'I just had the ball under control all the way round and my lag putting was good as well, so it felt very stress-free, ' said the defending champion, who is joint leader with Japan's Hideto Tanihara. He also birdied the 7 hole, then hit the par-5 8 hole in two and two putted from 50 feet.

A first birdie of the day at the 12th - the third on the card - was followed by a majestic five iron at the par three seventh that nestled adjacent to the flag.

"I think during my career I'm going to struggle to find a better three-ball, really". Just sort of did what you need to do well around here to get a good score. I tried to stay as patient as possible. The first event of the year on the PGA Tour was the Sentry Tournament of Champions.Hide Caption 2 of 8 Photos: Best golf images 2018All at sea: Japan's Hideki Matsuyama keeps his eye on the ball despite the sweeping sea views.Hide Caption 3 of 8 Photos: Best golf images 2018Guess who?: The mystery golfer is America's Kevin Chappell during the Sentry pro-am at Kapalua.Hide Caption 4 of 8 Photos: Best golf images 2018Hawaiian style: Rickie Fowler's shirt made a big noise - not for the pattern but because it was created to be worn untucked from his trousers. He never missed a green in regulation and never looked like dropping a shot.

Ramsay freely admits he found it too tough at first, missing the cut in his first three visits here, but, helped by gaining a bit more distance off the tee over the years, the Aberdonian has slowly but surely started to conquer this course. I was just excited to get going.

"So feel like I'm almost the most prepared for a season that I've ever been".

Fleetwood was playing alongside major winners Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson, and outscored both of them with a stellar performance.

"My expectation coming into this week was that I could win, but I think after the first day, seeing where my game's at and playing alongside two of the most in-form players in the world right now, I feel like I'm not that far away".

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