Rory McIlroy edged Tiger Woods by one stroke Monday in a one-day exhibition match at Jinsha Lake Golf Club in Zhengzhou, China. Mcllroy, ranked No. 1 in the world, shot a bogey-free 5-under-par-67, while the second-ranked Woods posted a 68.
It was their first-head-to-head competition without other players in the field.
"We actually both played pretty decent golf," Woods said. "We left a lot of putts out there, and we could have really shot some low numbers."
Huge crowds turned out for match, which was advertised as the "Duel at Jinsha Lake."
"This is certainly not like most Mondays," Woods said. "To have this many people come out and watch us play in an exhibition was something special. This doesn't happen. As far as doing something like this down the road, it would be fun."
McIlroy was coming off a second-place finish the previous day in the European Tour's BMW Masters in Shanghai, while Woods tied for fourth in the PGA Tour's CIMB Classic in Malaysia.
The Northern Irishman took early control of the match with birdies on two of the first three holes. He shot a 3-under-par 33 on the front nine and led Woods by two strokes.
But Tiger rallied with birdies at Nos. 10, 12 and 14 to offset a bogey at 13. The birdie at the par-3 12th hole energized the gallery, with Woods chipping in from the fairway.
McIlroy increased his lead to two strokes when Woods bogeyed No. 13, but the latter crept back within a stroke with a birdie at 14. McIlroy finished with four consecutive pars to put the match away.
"It was close the whole day," McIlroy said. "I had a better start, then Tiger started getting birdies on the back nine. It was an enjoyable day, and I think it was pretty exciting for the fans."
Both players said they would like to play similar matches in the future to help promote the game of golf.
"It would be great to compete more with Tiger like this, maybe down the home stretch in majors," he smiled.