The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

THE pub­lic­ity posters plas­tered all over Shang­hai for the WGC-HSBC Cham­pi­ons por­tray Rickie Fowler as a su­per­hero “Ea­gle Eye”, and the US Ry­der Cup star lived up to his billing yes­ter­day. Sport­ing a new mo­hawk hair­cut un­der his trade­mark broad-peaked cap, the 27-year-old US Ry­der Cup star proved a cut above all but one player as he fired a blem­ish-free seven-un­der-par 65 to lie one shot off the lead at She­shan In­ter­na­tional Golf Club. Swe­den’s Rikard Karl­berg leads on eigh­tun­der af­ter a damp first round of the US$9.5 mil­lion event dubbed “Asia’s Ma­jor”, where Rory McIl­roy’s put­ter proved as cool as the con­di­tions. The FedEx Cup cham­pion and world No. 3 carded a steady one-un­der 71 with just two birdies and a soli­tary bo­gey. “I feel I hit the ball well,” said McIl­roy. McIl­roy wasn’t alone among the favourites to strug­gle. World No. 2 and US Open cham­pion Dustin John­son toiled to a two-over 74, as did Masters cham­pion Danny Wil­lett. US PGA Cham­pion Jimmy Walker had a day to for­get with a six-over 78. There were no such woes for the well­trav­elled Fowler, whose last tour­na­ment win came in Abu Dhabi in Jan­uary and who has also recorded vic­to­ries in South Korea and Scot­land. Fowler was play­ing with Rus­sell Knox (66) and Paul Casey (65) in a three-ball that ripped round She­shan with a com­bined score of 18-un­der par.

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