Coetzee and Hatton set pace as rain closes on Close House
Early starters could get drenched in round two
Sky Golf, 9.30am Friday
Rory McIlroy drifted from 8-1 to 10-1 in the British Masters outright betting despite a decent first-round score of three under par at Close House in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
McIlroy made three birdies and dropped no shots in his final nine holes, lurking just off the pace going into round two.
The former world number one resumes his title challenge at 12.40pm, joining Matthew Fitzpatrick and Andy Sullivan in the marquee afternoon group.
George Coetzee set the early pace with a seven-under-par 63 which featured six birdies and an eagle. The South African, a pre-tournament 50-1 chance, was slashed to 10-1.
Tyrrell Hatton matched the score of Coetzee late in the day, the Englishman assuming favouritism after rolling in a fantastic putt on the 18th green.
A glorious, calm opening day is set to be followed by a wet, cool Friday morning before the sunshine returns from 2pm onwards.
Eddie Pepperell is swinging well and can outscore his playing partners James Morrison and Paul Peterson for the second day running.
1pt Evens bet365, Betfred
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