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Golf: McIlroy hoping to put row behind him

Rory McIlroy hoped a row with a former player was over today as he concentrated on trying to climb back into contention for the Irish Open in Killarney.

An opening one-under-par 70 left the US Open champion seven adrift of Indian Jeev Milkha Singh, who equalled the lowest round of his European Tour career.

But McIlroy then found himself unable to stay silent over criticism of his performance from American Jay Townsend, who now works as a commentator on television and radio.

In an exchange between the two on the social networking site Twitter, McIlroy wrote: "Shut up ... you're a commentator and a failed golfer, your opinion means nothing!"

Townsend had described the 22-year-old's course management as "shocking" and "some of the worst I have ever seen beyond under-10's boys golf competition".

He also said McIlroy should hire Tiger Woods's former caddie Steve Williams, but the world number four stood up for his bag man JP Fitzgerald.

Claiming that Townsend first started criticising Fitzgerald three years ago, McIlroy told Press Association Sport: "This was the first time I've responded - it was the straw that broke the camel's back - but now I've blocked him on Twitter so I won't be reading anything more."

A closing double bogey, where he went from a fairway bunker into water, dropped McIlroy into a tie for 44th spot overnight.

Singh led by two from France's Alexandre Kaleka, while Open champion Darren Clarke resumed on two under, last year's US Open champion Graeme McDowell on one over and three-major winner Padraig Harrington on two over.

The Dubliner, down to 64th in the world and without a top-six finish all year, said: "I just don't seem to do too many things right.

"Golf is a strange game. I drove it well and putted well, I just didn't score well. Maybe I need to be a little bit more patient - I was a bit aggressive at times."

© Press Association