McIlroy scrapes through

World number one Rory McIlroy posted a win in his first tie at the World Golf Championship Cadillac Matchplay despite an inconsistent performance.

The Northern Irishman beat Jason Dufner 5&4 on Wednesday, the first day of the round-robin stage which continues on Thursday and Friday.

“I felt like tee to green I played pretty well. I didn’t hole many putts and felt that the green speeds were pretty inconsistent, but did what I needed to do and we move on,” he told Sky Sports.

McIlroy has been placed in Group 1 of the tournament and will face Brandt Snedeker on Thursday before playing Billy Horschel in his last round-robin match on Friday.

“It’s good to win that first match. Luckily I’ve done that and the mindset going into (Thursday) is I have to win,” he said.

“You have to win every match. There’s no point in thinking you can’t win matches and progress here.

“I need to hole a few more putts. Jason didn’t have his best stuff, obviously, so I just tried to put him under pressure from the start, tried to hit fairways, hit greens, and try and make him force a little bit.

“In match play, you just need to beat the person that’s in front of you and I did that today.”

Meanwhile, world number two and Masters Tournament champion Jordan Spieth had a slightly easier day at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.

Spieth won 4&2 against Finland’s Mikko Ilonen, who triumphed at the Volvo World Match Play Championship at the London Club last year.

“It’s good to get off to a good start. I played solid golf,” Spieth said.

“It got a little interesting there on the back nine but a big turnaround on 12 and 13 to get three up and close it out on 16. I’m extremely pleased.”

However, not all of the top seeds had it their way on Wednesday. Third seed Henrik Stenson, Zurich Classic of New Orleans winner Justin Rose and Jason Day all crashed to succumbed surprise defeats.

Stenson and opponent John Senden were tied after 18 holes, before Senden birdied the 19th to take victory in the game. Rose lost 3&2 to Marc Leishman, while Charley Hoffman defeated Jason Day 4&3.