Sport Golf

Thursday 26 April 2018

McIlroy feeling under the weather in wet Singapore

William S Callahan

MOTHER NATURE is doing her best to keep the European Tour's Race to Dubai alive for at least another week.

Rory McIlroy's prospects of establishing an unassailable lead at the top of the European money list at the Singapore Open have been hampered by the thunderstorms which severely disrupted play once again.

As this is the monsoon season on the Malay Peninsula, the weather is expected to follow precisely the same pattern today and tomorrow, with rain and lightning likely in the afternoon.

Though Tournament Director Jose Maria Zamora refused last night to give up hope of completing four rounds, suggesting play may extend into Monday, it appears likely that, for the second year in succession, this event will be reduced to a 54-hole competition.

McIlroy, who was tied 29th on one-under-par overnight after completing just 30 holes on the opening two days, trailed joint-leaders Chapchai Nirat of Thailand and England's Simon Dyson by five strokes.

That'd be a lot of ground to make up if McIlroy has just 24 holes to play on a soft, but challenging Serapong course.


At his Major-winning best, McIlroy (23) would be fancied to bridge that gap -- or at least achieve the third place he needs to wrap-up the Race to Dubai title now that Louis Oosthuizen's prospects of winning in Singapore have dimmed.

However, the World No 1 struggled on the heavily-grained greens during his first round 70 and also has been hampered by a head cold.

"I'm struggling a bit with a cold or sinus infection at the moment, so I'm not feeling 100pc," said McIlroy.

Having completed his weather-interrupted first round 70, McIlroy then dropped three shots in the first four holes of his second, following a bogey five at 12 with a six at 13.

Yet he came bounding back with birdies at 18, one and three, where he hit a glorious 205-yard six-iron to three feet, before the weather closed in.

While that storm passed, allowing the players go back out on the course, McIlroy hit just three shots down the par-five 13th when the hooters sounded once again, this time ending play for the day.

The Ulsterman shrugged off the inconvenience, expressing more frustration for his girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki as he tweeted from the clubhouse late yesterday afternoon: "Twelve hours at the golf course already today. Caroline is really enjoying her holiday this week ... Not!"

The happy couple had an enjoyable evening, however, at a birthday party for McIlroy's long-serving caddie JP Fitzgerald, which also was attended by members of the Ulsterman's back-room team at Horizon, plus stablemate Shane Lowry and his bagman Dermot Byrne.

After his first-round 72, Lowry was one stroke outside the projected cut mark on two-over with five holes of his second round to play this morning.

Michael Hoey -- like Peter Lawrie, Padraig Harrington and all their other colleagues marooned in the other half of the draw -- didn't hit a shot yesterday. So, the Ulsterman decided to go to a movie and there was wonderful irony in his choice: new James Bond thriller 'Skyfall'.

Hoey and Lawrie both posted one-over 72s on Thursday, while Harrington will need to shoot 69 or better today to beat the projected cut after his opening 74.

Though Dyson officially shared the overnight lead on six-under, he was standing over a three-foot bogey putt on five, his 13th, when the storm hit.

Nirat (29) completed the first nine holes of his second round in even par. The Thai is well equipped mentally to deal with frustrating delays, having trained as a Buddhist monk!

Meanwhile, Charlie Beljan has launched a spectacular late rescue bid for his PGA Tour card at the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic in Florida, surging into a three-stroke lead with a second-round 64 at the Palm Course.

Beljan (28) started the final event of the US season in 193rd place on the money list and needing to shoot the lights out to make it into the top 125 who keep their cards in 2013.

Beljan was six-under for the four par-fives as he sped clear of the seven players sharing second on nine-under, including Henrik Stenson, Camilo Villegas and Charles Howell III.

Singapore Open, Day 3

Live, Sky Sports 2, 6.0am

Children's Miracle Network

Hospitals Classic

Live, Sky Sports 4, 6.0pm

Irish Independent

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