Sport Golf

Monday 16 September 2019

Bogey-free McIlroy gains Memphis momentum

Rory McIlroy. Photo: Getty
Rory McIlroy. Photo: Getty

Brian Keogh

Rory McIlroy fired his first bogey-free round for seven weeks to trail clubhouse leader Matthew Fitzpatrick by five shots in the WGC FedEx St Jude Invitational in Memphis.

Seeking his third PGA Tour win of the season, the Holywood star had just 25 putts in a three-under 67 as Fitzpatrick carded a six-under 64 to set the pace on nine-under-par at TPC Southwind.

"You have to respect the course but hopefully I can get hot over the weekend and finish strong and give myself a chance," said McIlroy.

There were fewer fireworks from Seamus Power in the modified stableford format Barracuda Championship at Montreux GCC in Nevada.

The West Waterford star (32) is 143rd in the FedEx Cup standings with only the top 125 after next week's Wyndham Championship guaranteed their full playing privileges for next season.

He was tied for eighth overnight after firing an eagle (5pts) and four birdies (2pts each) against just two bogeys in an opening 68 to rack up 11 points. But he slipped outside the top ten in the second round in Reno picking up just four points to be tied for 16th, seven behind clubhouse leader Tom Hoge, when play was suspended.

He was projected to move up just six spots to 137th in the FedEx Cup standings but with two more rounds to go and next week's event at Sedgefield Country Club where he will be joined by Pádraig Harrington. The European Ryder Cup skipper had five points in the bag after turning in two-under but then dropped four shots in four holes on his back nine to card two points in a 73 that left him outside the cut mark on four points.

In Europe, Darren Clarke remained on track to become just the fourth player to complete a rare double after a second successive 68 left him just two shots behind American Wes Short in the Senior Open at Royal Lytham and St Annes.

Despite closing with a bogey, the 2011 Open champion is alone in third on four-under-par as he bids to become just the fourth player after Gary Player, Bob Charles and Tom Watson to win both The Open and the Senior Open.

Pleased with his ball striking but frustrated with his putting, Clarke said: "One of these days I'll have a hot day on the greens and everything will be wonderful again."

Short's second successive 67 gave him a one-shot lead over compatriot Scott Dunlap with Clarke third and Americans Bart Bryant, and Ken Duke tied for fourth with South Africa's Retief Goosen.

At the Evian Championship in France, Mi Hyang Lee carded four-under-par 67 to take the halfway lead on 10-under-par.

She leads one stroke from fellow South Koreans Sung Hyun Park, Inbee Park and Hyo Joo Kim on a storm interrupted day.

Forrest Little amateur Julie McCarthy, still battling a wrist problem, followed her opening 87 with a 78 to finish 118th.

England's Holly Clyburn opened with a seven-under 64 to lead the Symetra 'Tour's CDPH Open at Capital Hills at Albany in New York where Leona Maguire was among the later starters.

St Jude Invitational, Sky Sports, 7.0pm

Evian Championship, Sky Sports, 11.0am

Senior Open, Sky Sports, from 2.30pm

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