(AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
SYDNEY (AP) 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. McIlroy was a stroke behind Australian Aron Price, who was the best of the morning groupings with a 68.