Donald & McIlroy off Florida pace


    Leaderboard: -3 S Levin (US) -2 S Appleby (Aus) C Schwartzel (SA) K Stanley (US) G Chalmers (Aus) YE Yang (Kor) Selected others: Level L Westwood (Eng) +3 L Donald (Eng) R McIlroy (NI) G McDowell (NI)

    Luke Donald

    Donald won the Honda Classic in 2006 but struggled on Thursday

    Luke Donald followed up Sunday’s WGC Match Play triumph with a disappointing three-over-par 73 in the opening round of the Honda Classic in Florida.

    The world number three made a triple-bogey seven at the 11th – his second hole – and sits six shots behind leader Spencer Levin of the United States.

    Northern Irish duo Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell also carded 73s.

    England’s Lee Westwood had four birdies and four bogeys in a round of 70, while his compatriot Ross Fisher shot 76.

    In windy conditions, Levin was one shot clear of a group of five players at two under par – Australian duo Stuart Appleby and Greg Chalmers, Charl Schwartzel of South Africa, Kyle Stanley of the US and South Korea’s YE Yang.

    US Ryder Cup duo Jeff Overton and Matt Kuchar were one shot back.

    Westwood could take the world number one spot back from Germany’s Martin Kaymer with a top-three finish at Palm Beach Gardens on Sunday.

    Playing the back nine first, Westwood got off to a slow start with bogeys at 12 and 17 but recovered with four birdies against two more bogeys on the front nine.

    McIlroy managed only one birdie in his round, while McDowell did not break par on a single hole.

    “Feel like a just spent 5 hours in the tumble drier!!!! That was pretty brutal out there,” said

    McDowell on Twitter.

    Donald won the Honda Classic in 2006, but failed to claim a title again in the US until his success in Arizona on Sunday.

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    Donald & McIlroy off Florida pace