STARLET Rory McIlroy admitted struggling to cope with the pressure after England’s Lee Westwood snatched the initiative on the first day of the Dubai World Championship.<br /><br />McIlroy, 20, came into the season-ending tournament – which will decide who scoops the European Tour Order of Merit and a €1.8m cheque – leading the money list. <br /><br />But Westwood, who was second, yesterday, put himself back in front with a superb six-under-par opening round of 66 in Dubai that left him second on the leaderboard, behind Australian pacesetter Robert Allenby.<br /><br />McIlroy, meanwhile, could only manage to start his weekend with a 68 for a share of fifth place, meaning that if positions stay as they are Westwood will overtake him and land his second Order of Merit title.<br /><br />The Northern Irishman made a slow start playing alongside Westwood, a grouping he admitted affected his concentration in the biggest tournament of his short career. “I didn’t think I would find it as difficult as I did to be honest, but that’s the way I found it and I thought I dealt pretty well with it,” he said. “Lee’s been around a lot longer than me. You want to try and concentrate on the tournament, but at the same time you’re seeing what he’s doing.”<br /><br />Westwood, 36, insisted playing with McIlroy had not bothered him at all. “To be bothered about anything on the first tee other than trying to hit it down the middle and give yourself a birdie chance is irrelevant as far as I’m concerned,” he said.<br /><br />The two other players who came into the weekend with a chance of topping the money list, England’s Ross Fisher and Germany’s Martin Kaymer, had days to forget. <br /><br />Needing top two and top four finishes respectively, they ended day one with rounds of one-over and one-under-par.