McIlroy expects tough conditions at US Open

GOLF: Rory McIlroy is expecting a far stiffer test when he defends the US Open in six weeks’ time – but not because he knocked four shots off the championship record last year.

The weather is likely to dictate that the Olympic Club in San Francisco will be fast and fiery for the second major of the season.

McIlroy was 16 under par and eight clear of the rest at Congressional near Washington.

He said: “The thing that made the scoring low was the fact they got so much rain before. Last year was a bit of an exception. I’m expecting something around level par isn’t going to be too far away.”

Pebble Beach was firm when Graeme McDowell won two years ago, with McIlroy missing the cut on that occasion. “At that point I was not playing so well,” the 22-year-old added. “I was not in control of my ball.”

The recent Masters was billed as McIlroy versus Tiger Woods in some quarters, but it did not turn out like that. “It was a two-horse race for 40th,” he said, remembering that they finished level. “Hopefully we both play a bit better at Olympic. It would be great to get into contention and if he’s there as well.”

Britton sets Olympic time

ATHLETICS: Fionnuala Britton has nailed the Olympic 10,000m qualifying time with her first ever run over the distance on the track.

The European Cross Country champion, who had already qualified for London at steeplechase, got the flat time by clocking 31:29.22 when finishing third at the high-class Payton Jordon Invitational in California.

Her time was well inside the 31:45 ‘A’ standard and the fourth fastest ever by an Irishwoman after Sonia O’Sullivan’s 30:47, Catherina McKiernan’s 31:08 and Marie Davenport’s 31:28:78.

Mullingar Harriers’ Mark Christie ran 13:37.32 at the same meeting, which qualified him for this summer’s European Championships.