Sports

Rory McIlroy buries bad memories at PGA National and opens with 63 at Honda Classic

  • Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland tees off on the fifth hole during the first round of the Honda Classic golf tournament, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014, in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

    Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland tees off on the fifth hole during the first round of the Honda Classic golf tournament, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014, in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)  (The Associated Press)

  • Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland lines up a putt on the fourth hole during the first round of the Honda Classic golf tournament, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014, in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

    Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland lines up a putt on the fourth hole during the first round of the Honda Classic golf tournament, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014, in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)  (The Associated Press)

  • Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits out of a bunker on the fifth hole during the first round of the Honda Classic golf tournament, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014, in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

    Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits out of a bunker on the fifth hole during the first round of the Honda Classic golf tournament, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014, in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)  (The Associated Press)

Rory McIlroy birdied his last two holes Thursday for a 7-under 63 to take the lead after one round of the Honda Classic.

It was quite a turnaround for McIlroy, who last year was 7 over through eight holes of the second round when he walked off PGA National out of frustration. He looked more like the free-wheeling kid who won this tournament two years ago to rise to No. 1 in the world.

McIlroy buried a few long putts to help the cause, though his game was solid through a cloudy afternoon.

He was one shot ahead of Russell Henley, who birdied five of his opening six holes before cooling.

Tiger Woods, playing for the first time in a month, was eight shots behind after a 71.