British Masters 2017: Rory McIlroy 4 Shots Back of Co-Leaders After Thursday

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 28, 2017

Tyrrell Hatton
Tyrrell HattonRoss Kinnaird/Getty Images

George Coetzee and Tyrrell Hatton shared the overnight lead at the 2017 British Masters on Thursday as they carded seven-under 63s.

Meanwhile, five players sit one shot behind, with Rory McIlroy at three under for the day and Sergio Garcia at par.       

The full leaderboard can be accessed via the European Tour's official website.

                                   

Thursday Recap

It was a strong opening day for the field in Newcastle, none more so than for Coetzee.

The South African began his day with back-to-back birdies and his round got even better when he holed out for an eagle at the sixth.

He picked up another shot at the 10th before another pair of birdies came at the 14th and 15th, per the European Tour's official Twitter feed:

His only blemish came at the 16th, which he immediately cancelled out amid a strong finish to the round.

As for Hatton, a quiet start belied an explosive back nine for the Englishman.

Birdies at the fourth and eighth marked a steady front nine, and he picked up six shots on the back save for at the 11th—which was his only bogey—14th and 16th.

His play at the final hole was especially impressive:

A modest but positive round from McIlroy saw him recover from a bogey at the 12th—his third hole—with a birdie at the 13th.

The four-time major winner benefited from a slice of luck at the 17th when, after an errant drive, a fan found his ball in thick rough, allowing him to salvage a par.

He then made gains on the first, sixth and ninth:

Coetzee and Hatton produced impressive outings on Thursday, but with so many players so close behind—not to mention the likes of Matthew Fitzpatrick, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer all on four under, plus McIlroy and Garcia lurking—it could all change before the weekend.