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McIlroy refuses to blame fatigue or lost clubs for poor Irish Open start

Karl MacGinty

Published 20/06/2014 | 02:30

Rory McIlroy reacts after hitting a shot from the bunker on to the 11th green during day one of the Irish Open at Fota Island. Photo: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
Rory McIlroy reacts after hitting a shot from the bunker on to the 11th green during day one of the Irish Open at Fota Island. Photo: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

Rory McIlroy won't be tempted to join professional golf's jet set ... despite having his plans for this week's Irish Open disrupted when his clubs went astray in transit.

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Revealing that not being able to practice or play golf on Monday or Tuesday as the airline searched for his golf bag "was a little bit" inconvenient in the run-up to the Irish Open, McIlroy shrugged: "Sometimes that's just the way it goes." He then joked: "I just need to play better golf over the next few years and get my own plane so that doesn't happen."

Asked if he really was in the market for a jet, McIlroy replied with a firm: "No.

"I'd dinner with Dermot Desmond last night and he strongly advised against it," added the 25-year-old, who has an endorsement deal with charter company Netjets.

McIlroy certainly didn't offer the loss of his clubs or even fatigue after last week's mentally draining US Open as an excuse for an unusually sloppy first round 74 at Fota that sent him spiralling into a share of 125th place on three-over.

Yet after signing for the 68 that established him as the home team's leading challenger with Michael Hoey, Graeme McDowell admitted: "my body's still catching-up at little" after Pinehurst, followed by Tuesdya's reconnaissance trip to Open venue Hoylake.

After making birdie on three of his last four holes to move within four of leader Mikko Ilonen (35) of Finland, McDowell looked forward to "a nice sleep tonight and hopefully feeling a bit fresher in the morning".

The Portrush star laughed off a "good, old-fashioned, lay-the-sod-over shot" off the tee at 17 which landed 50 yards short of the green, leading to bogey four.

"That was a bit of woopsy," he said. "I was trying to throw myself at a five-iron and fell over. "

Hoey, like McDowell, found fairways bordered by bottomless rough to be "firm and quite narrow, so the course is not playing that easy".

Despite stirring throaty roars from the crowd as he sank several long putts, Hoey looked forward to playing Fota's greens this morning, when they're a tad smoother.

Irish Independent

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