McIlroy shoots 63 to sit in favoured position in Hong Kong

Rory McIlroy finds himself second, his favoured Hong Kong Open position after consecutive second places in the last two years, after the first day’s play in Fanling.

With three days play to go, the Ulsterman has set the stall out to the rest of the field as he searches for the win to end to his second place Hong Kong hoodoo .

But just two shots off McIlroy in a tie for sixth is his fellow countryman Graeme McDowell, and the US Open winner has been cut from 8/1 to 5/1 to win the UBS Hong Kong Open.

McDowell is chasing Martin Kaymer in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai and a win in Hong Kong this week would mean the two would fight it out to be crowned Europe’s number one golfer in the Dubai World Championship next week.

Winning the Race to Dubai offers a $1.5m bonus prize and that added incentive could hand McDowell the edge in his battle with McIlroy in Hong Kong.

However McIlroy lost his world number nine ranking to his close friend earlier in the week and the friendly rivalry between the two will see McIlroy want that world ranking back as soon as possible.

New Zealander Mark Brown heads the Hong Kong Open leaderboard by one shot to McIlroy after a blistering round of 62 that included five birdies on the back nine, and the Kiwi is as big as 20/1 to win after the first days play.

Other notable rounds came from England’s Simon Dyson who finished T8 in this tournament last year and in four of his last five tournaments where he has made the cut he’s finished in the top ten – Dyson is 12/1 to win this week.

Jeev Milkha Singh is third favourite at 10/1 to win in Hong Kong. See the full UBS Hong Kong Open betting odds here.