SYDNEY – Rory McIlroy's defense of his Australian Open title began with a 2-under 69 on a cool, overcast and often drizzly morning at The Australian Golf Club.
McIlroy, winner of back-to-back majors this year at the British Open and U.S. PGA, began play on the back nine and made the turn at even-par after a birdie and a bogey. He birdied the first hole of his second nine, added another at the par-5 fifth, but made bogey on the seventh.
He finished strongly, hitting his approach on the ninth to less than two feet and making an easy birdie.
Adam Scott, who finished second in last year's tournament at Royal Sydney when McIlroy birdied the 18th hole of the final round, was in an afternoon group that included American Jordan Spieth.