Friday 20 October 2017

McIlroy slips to sixth in rankings as Thomas boosts FedEx hopes

McIlroy has slipped to sixth place, for the first time since 2014. Photo: PA
McIlroy has slipped to sixth place, for the first time since 2014. Photo: PA

William S Callahan

Four-time Major winner Rory McIlroy will enter next week's make-or-break BMW Championship at his lowest world ranking for more than three years.

McIlroy, who missed the cut in the Dell Technologies Championship, has slipped from fourth to sixth in the latest standings behind winner Justin Thomas and Spain's Jon Rahm.

The last time the former world number one was ranked so low was in July 2014, when he was eighth after the Scottish Open before winning the Open Championship at Hoylake the following week.

McIlroy has played just 15 events in an injury-plagued season and plans to play three more events before taking several months off to fully recover from a lingering rib injury.

However, the 28-year-old's missed cut in Boston means he slipped from 43rd in the FedEx Cup standings to 51st and needs a good performance in the BMW Championship at Conway Farms in Illinois to climb into the top 30 and qualify for the Tour Championship in Atlanta.

McIlroy defeated Ryan Moore and Kevin Chappell in a play-off at East Lake 12 months ago to win the overall FedEx Cup title and $10million bonus.

The Northern Irishman is keen to avoid just his second full winless season since turning professional and is due to contest the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship with his father Gerry from October 5-8 before calling time on a frustrating campaign.

Meanwhile, US PGA champion Thomas came out on top after a thrilling final-round shootout to win his fifth tournament of the season in the Dell Technologies Championship.

Champion

Thomas carded a final round of 66 at TPC Boston to finish on 17-under par, three shots clear of Open champion Jordan Spieth in the second of four FedEx Cup play-off events.

The win leaves Thomas just 27 points behind Spieth in the FedEx Cup standings, with the top five entering the Tour Championship in Atlanta knowing that victory at East Lake would also guarantee them the overall title and $10m bonus.

"I'm excited," said Thomas, who became the youngest player to shoot 59 on the PGA Tour on his way to winning back-to-back events in Hawaii in January and set a tournament record for lowest score in relation to par with a nine-under 63 in the third round of the US Open at Erin Hills.

Irish Independent

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