Rory McIlroy produced a moment of magic to spark a first-round revival at the Abu Dhabi Championship on Thursday, with a 5-under 67 leaving the world's top-ranked player two shots off the early lead.

With his ball on the lip of a fairway bunker on No. 3 — his 12th hole — McIlroy overcame an awkward stance to find the green from around 95 yards and sink a 12-foot putt.

That was the first of five birdies in McIlroy's last seven holes, leaving the Northern Irishman right in contention in his first event of 2015.

Rickie Fowler, McIlroy's playing partner, spoiled a great round by bogeying No. 18 and also shot 67.

Belgium's Thomas Pieters was leading after a 7-under 65. Brandon Grace and Gregory Bourdy were a shot behind.