01/26/2012 04:39 EST | Updated 03/26/2012 05:12 EDT

McIlroy, Karlsson shoot 67s to share early lead in Abu Dhabi; Woods 3 shots back

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates - Rory McIlroy shot a 5-under 67 in the opening round Thursday at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship for a share of the early clubhouse lead, three strokes in front of playing partner Tiger Woods.

McIlroy, the U.S. Open champion who has had three top-five finishes at this tournament, made three birdies in his first four holes but bogeyed two of the next four. He steadied with three birdies on his back nine, including a chip-in on No. 8 from just off the green.

Robert Karlsson of Sweden also had a 67. The pair were a shot ahead of Gareth Maybin of Northern Ireland.

Woods holed two birdies in a bogey-free 70, but struggled on the greens, missing several putts. Top-ranked Luke Donald shot a 71.