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McIlroy Leads Shanghai Masters After First Round – SportsUntapped.com
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Added October 27th, 2011 by Chalk

McIlroy Leads Shanghai Masters After First Round
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Rory McIlroy shot a bogey-free 8-under 64 on Thursday to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Shanghai Masters, a 30-golfer invitational tournament that’s unsanctioned by any of the major tours but is offering the richest top prize in golf at $2 million. American Hunter Mahan nearly tied McIlroy on Thursday but settled for second when a birdie putt on the final hole lipped out.

“If I can play as solid for the next three days as I did today, I feel as if I’ll be very difficult to beat,” said McIlroy, the 22-year-old phenom from Northern Ireland who ran away with this year’s US Open.

Because the event is unsanctioned, there are no world ranking points to be won. But besides the huge cash prize, golfers were also lured to the invitational because next week’s WGC-HSBC Champions is held at another course just across time.

John Daly, who was five shots off the lead and tied with Lee Westwood, also touted the unsanctioned nature of the event as a big step for China’s autonomy. “With a small field like we have here, and I think I may get in trouble for saying this, but I’m kind of glad it’s not sanctioned by the European or PGA Tour,” Daly said. “It shows that China is doing something on their own. They’re saying, ‘Hey, we may not need the PGA Tour or European Tour, no disrespect.'”

 
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