McIlroy tetchy over Chandler spilt after his 64

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The Independent Online

Rory McIlroy's split from his long-term manager didn't seem to have affected his form at the Shanghai Masters yesterday as he shot an eight-under 64 to lead the first-round. But his mood was on the terse side of tetchy as he refused to discuss the reasons behind his sacking of Chubby Chandler.

"I've come here to discuss my 64," was McIlroy's response to questions about his well-publicised decision to switch to a smaller Dublin agency and his alleged rift with former stablemate Lee Westwood. And while there was plenty to discuss about a bogeyless round which put him on track to win £1.25m, golf's biggest first prize, the day's focus remained on his break with International Sports Management.

McIlroy partnered Westwood, the world No 2 who criticised the move via Twitter, calling it a "bizarre decision". However, the mood at Lake Malaren remained professional as the 22-year-old outshot the 38-year-old by five shots.

"If I can play as solid for the next three days as I did today, then I'll be very difficult to beat," said McIlroy after eight birdies. It gave him a one-shot lead over the American Hunter Mahan, with third placed English duo of Ian Poulter and Paul Casey two shots further back.