Rory McIlroy shoots near-perfect 63 in first round of Honda Classic

Rory McIlroy was on point on Thursday in Florida. (Getty Imaegs)
Rory McIlroy was on point on Thursday in Florida. (Getty Images)

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I'm guessing the dentist won't be on call this time around.

After withdrawing from last year's Honda Classic with a toothache and 37 shots thru eight holes, Rory McIlroy needed just 26 more shots to get through a full round of 18 in this year's first round.

McIlroy torched the field with a first-round 63 that included zero bogeys and a card full of birdies. Here's a look:

That back nine that includes the famed (and extremely difficult Bear Trap) is just sick.

Here's the middle birdie of his three-hole birdie streak to kick-start the back nine:

To me, though, McIlroy's most impressive hole of the day came on the par-4 ninth.

He hit his tee shot into the right rough, came up short of the green on his second and hit a nice chip to 11 feet. He buried that putt for par which doesn't seem like a big deal on his scorecard but it's the kind of par he just wasn't saving last year.

According to PGA Tour media the 63 is McIlroy's lowest round on the PGA Tour since 2010.

The Ulsterman is no stranger to this track, though. He won this tournament in 2012 (he shot a 66 in the first round that year) and as Will Gray pointed out, he's trying for the rare win-WD-win three-year finish. 

Speaking of that WD, it's fitting that on the very round and in the very place where McIlroy's lowest point of 2013 took place, his best moment since then also transpired.

So why the elite round from the six-time winner on the PGA Tour?

"It's a good ball-striker's course," said McIlroy after his round.

And on Thursday (as he's always been) McIlroy was a great ball-striker. He hit 78 percent of greens in regulation and 71 percent of fairways.

Surgical precision from the man who ditched the dentist's chair for a scalpel of his own.

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CBS Sports Writer

Kyle Porter began his sports writing career with CBS Sports in 2012. He covers golf, writes poetry about Rory McIlroy's swing, stays ready on Tiger watch and loves the Masters more than anyone you know.... Full Bio

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