Arjun Atwal, Seung-Yul Noh, Jeff Overton and J.J. Henry were a stroke back.
McIlroy, preparing for his U.S. Open title defense next week at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, followed at 68 in a group that included Padraig Harrington, Y.E. Yang and John Daly.
McIlroy, coming off three consecutive missed cuts worldwide, played alongside Harrington and Graeme McDowell in an all-Irish threesome. McIlroy and McDowell are from Northern Ireland, and Harrington from Ireland.
EUROPEAN TOUR: In Stockholm, Lee Westwood shot 8-under-par 64 to lead by three strokes after the second round at the Nordea Masters .
Peter Hanson, of Sweden (68), Scotland’s Lloyd Saltman (64) and Carlos del Moral, of Spain (67), are next.
First-round leader Magnus A Carlsson, of Sweden, followed up his 65 with 72.
Jamie Elson was the only one of the three former Augusta State golfers to make the cut. He made it on the number, shooting 73-70–143. Oliver Wilson shot 76-71–147 and Scott Jamieson had 73-74–147.
CHAMPIONS TOUR: In Birmingham, Ala., Dan Forsman and Bill Glasson share the first-round lead in the Regions Tradition, shooting 6-under-par 66 at Shoal Creek in the second of the Champions Tour’s five major championships.
Fred Funk was a stroke back. Augusta native Larry Mize opened with 70.
LPGA TOUR: In Pittsford, N.Y., Beatriz Recari, Ryann O’Toole, and Giulia Sergas, who each shot 3-under-par 69 to tie after the opening round of the LPGA Championship.
Jeong Jang, Mika Miyazato, Cristie Kerr, Se Ri Pak, Na Yeon Choi, Ai Miyazato and Paula Creamer all shot 70.
NATIONWIDE TOUR: In Leon, Mexico, former Ohio State golfer Ryan Armour shot 8-under-par 64 to take the lead in the Mexico Open.
Paul Haley II is one shot back.
Aiken native Matt Hendrix is tied for eighth after 68.
Augusta’s Scott Parel, who lost last week’s Rex Hospital Open in a sudden-death playoff, had 71.