Sport Golf

Thursday 17 October 2019

McIlroy focused on victory after scraping through

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

Brian Keogh

Rory McIlroy refused to rule out a weekend charge to victory in the BMW PGA at Wentworth despite scraping in for the weekend on the cut line.

The world No 2 had to hole a four-footer for a closing par and a 69 that left him on the projected one-over cut mark before play was suspended due to darkness. He blamed his opening 76 on alignment problems that emerged after his two-week lay-off.

But while he's a massive 12 strokes adrift of co-leaders Jon Rahm and Danny Willett, he does not rule out a repeat of his 2010 win at Quail Hollow, when he made the cut on the mark and went on to win his first PGA Tour title by four shots after a closing 62.

"Look, I've done it before, so it's not out of the realms of possibility that I can do that," McIlroy said. "I just need to play better. I need to put the ball in the fairway a bit more and I felt like I did that today."

McIlroy was two shots outside the cut mark with five holes to play but birdied the par-three 14th, then chipped in for another at the 16th before being forced to two-putt from nearly 50 feet at the 18th after a wild second hit a scoreboard right of the green, leaving him a tricky pitch.

"It was just a bit of a survival mode out there," McIlroy said. "It would have been easy to get frustrated today but just hung in there and just wanted to be here for the weekend and thankfully I am."

Rahm shot 67 and Willett a seven-under 65 to leave them two strokes clear of Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and Christiaan Bezuidenhout on 11-under.

Open champion Shane Lowry was far from his best off the tee but pleased to battle for a one-under 71 alongside McIlroy and share 37th one-under.

"If I can just drive the ball in play, I think I can shoot a good score," said Lowry, who admitted that he's hoping for a late tee-time tomorrow so he can watch Ireland's Rugby World Cup debut in Japan.

While Paul Dunne followed his 80 with a 77 to finish on 13-over, European Ryder Cup skipper Pádraig Harrington birdied the 18th to make the cut on the mark after an adventurous 72.

The Dubliner then revealed on Twitter that he has become the proud owner of his first dog - a Bernese mountain dog that will go by the name "Wilson".

In the R&A's Senior Women's Amateur Championship, Malahide's Alison Taylor lost out after a three-way play-off at Royal St David's. Leading by two strokes overnight, she closed with a two-over 77 to tie with American Lara Tennant and Belgium's Sylvie van Molle on three-under 222.

Taylor was knocked out of the sudden death contest when she made par and both Tennant and Van Molle two-putted for birdie fours at the first play-off hole.

Tennant, the reigning US Senior Women's Open champion, triumphed at the third extra hole when she made a par-three at the 18th.

On the Staysure Tour, James Kingston and David Shacklady share a one-shot lead on nine-under heading into the final round of the Paris Legends Championship.

Brendan McGovern is seven-over after an 80 with Philip Walton's 81 leaving him ten strokes further back.

Meanwhile, Leona Maguire was six shots off the lead after opening with a three-over 75 in the Symetra Tour's Guardian Championship in Alabama.

  • BMW PGA Championship, Live, Sky Sports, 12pm
  • Sanderson Farm Championship, Live, Sky Sports, 8pm

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