Monday 19 November 2018

Frustrated McIlroy gets back on track

Rory McIlroy again had a frustrating day with the putter but remains in contention. Photo: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images
Rory McIlroy again had a frustrating day with the putter but remains in contention. Photo: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

Brian Keogh

Rory McIlroy shrugged off a frustrating day on the greens and continued his quest to turn back the clock in his search for his ideal swing.

The Holywood star (29) had 32 putts, including two three-putts, in a one-under 69 that left him three shots behind clubhouse leader Brian Harman on seven-under in the Travelers Championship in Connecticut.

But he hopes to light up TPC River Highlands over the weekend and believes he's close to rediscovering some old swing feelings as The Open approaches.

Believing he just needs to be patient, he said:"I think with just what I'm working on I'm not 100pc comfortable and I'm still thinking a lot about what I'm doing.

"So it will be probably a few weeks before the consistency level is where I want it to be.

"But it's good that there's good signs in there. I'll keep working on it. I'll go to the range and practise this afternoon, and hopefully, it will be a little better tomorrow."

Frustration could have set in, but he was pleased he remained patient, adding: "I felt like mentally I was pretty good. You sort of need to do that when you don't have your best stuff.

"If I just keep giving myself chances, hit a few more fairways over the weekend than I did today, and if I can keep doing that and keep giving myself chances, hopefully, I'll be able to move."

He missed just one green and only three fairways in an opening 64 and put that down to spending last weekend working on his swing.

"Obviously, you never want to miss a cut in a major, but it might have been a blessing in disguise for the rest of the year," he said.

"I'm trying to get back to the way I swung in 2010, 2011. It's sort of hard because my body has changed quite a bit since then and the feelings I have."

Left-hander Harman (31) made seven birdies in a four-under 66 to lead by two shots on 10-under par from Bryson DeChambeau (66) and Paul Casey (67).

West Waterford's Seamus Power (31) also had a good day, carding five birdies in a 67 that moved him into the top half of the field on three-under par.

It was another frustrating day for Jordan Spieth, however, less than 24 hours after his blistering 63 gave him a share of the overnight lead with Zach Johnson, who was among the afternoon starters with Pádraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell.

The Texan (24) had a triple-bogey eight after driving out of bounds and finding water at the 13th, his fourth hole, and needed a tap-in eagle at his 16th to salvage a three-over 73.

Mistakes

Blaming his course management for most of his mistakes, he felt he hit the ball better than he had on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Australian Scott Hend fired a sensational 67 in windy conditions to lead the BMW International Open by a stroke from Qualifying School graduates Nico Geyger of Chile and Sweden's Henric Sturehed on six-under.

Local favourite Martin Kaymer shot a 68 to lurk just two off the pace in fourth spot alongside countryman Maximilian Kieffer, overnight leader Sébastien Gros of France, Australia's Nick Cullen and England's Aaron Rai, who won a BMW i8 Roadster for a hole-in-one on the 16th.

US Open runner-up Tommy Fleetwood squeaked over the cut line on four-over after a second successive 74, but The Island's Paul McBride missed the cut by three strokes after a 75.

On the Symetra Tour, Stephanie Meadow opened with a two-under 70 to trail leaders Desiree Dubreuil and Meghan MacLaren by four strokes in the Island Championship in Michigan where Leona Maguire was a late starter.

Irish Independent

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