Sunday 23 October 2016

McIlroy stutters but still in hunt

Porshe European Open Live, Sky Sports 4, 12.0pm; Tour Championship, Live, Sky Sports 4, 4.0pm

William S Callahan

Published 24/09/2016 | 02:30

Rory McIlroy reacts to his tee shot on the second hole during the second round of the Tour Championship yesterday. Picture: Getty Images
Rory McIlroy reacts to his tee shot on the second hole during the second round of the Tour Championship yesterday. Picture: Getty Images

Rory McIlroy is taking a rocky road in his bid to win the FedEx Cup title and the $10million bonus in the Tour Championship at East Lake, Atlanta.

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McIlroy had seven birdies in round one, but made mistakes, including two double-bogeys, which forced him to sweat his way to a 68, two-under par.

He headed for the practice putting green on Thursday evening, hoping to sort out some issues with his game, but yesterday was more of the same - a mixture of the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Four bogeys, all on the front nine, and four birdies, three of them on the inward half, left him with mixed feelings.

Speaking to Sky Sports, McIlroy said: "I struggled with my swing all day, even from the warm-up on the range. I just didn't feel comfortable with my swing and I sort of let that feed into how I played, especially those first few holes.

"I made some sloppy swings and poor shots. Got it together a little bit on the back nine. It was nice to get it together but I'm disappointed with the position I was in off that last tee shot and not being able to make a birdie there," he said.

That was in reference to his determination to follow up a birdie three on the 17th with an eagle ideally, or birdie at least, on the final hole.

McIlroy attacked the long 18th with a driver, coming perilously close to water, but survived to set up an eagle chance - and then came up short in three, leaving him doing well to get down in two from twenty feet for par.

At two-under after 36 holes, he was still in contention, although Dustin Johnson stretched the lead at the top to -7 with a solid 68.

Kevin Chappell was just a shot adrift, shooting 68 for six-under par.

World number one Jason Day played seven holes and then withdrew yesterday afternoon, citing a back injury.

Two weeks ago he also pulled out of the BMW Championship after nine holes of the fourth round.

In Europe, fog delayed the start of morning play in the Porsche German Open at Bad Griesbach, leaving a large cohort of players to get their second round completed today before starting round three.

Alexander Levy played spectacularly, setting the pace at 17-under par, after 17 holes of his second round. Levy was eight-under for his round when play halted due to darkness.

European Ryder Cup team member Martin Kaymer was on 11-under after 35 holes.

Captain's pick Thomas Pieters was on -3 through 34 holes.

Ireland's Paul Dunne has eight holes left of round two and was on -6. Ruaidhri McGee has three left to complete and was on two-under par. Michael Hoey (-4) and Padraig Harrington (level par) never hit a shot yesterday.

Irish Independent

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