Friday 19 July 2019

McIlroy frustrated but still in contention

Rory McIlroy on the 15th green during yesterday's second round of the Tour Championship golf tournament at East Lake Golf Club
Rory McIlroy on the 15th green during yesterday's second round of the Tour Championship golf tournament at East Lake Golf Club

Brian Keogh

Rory McIlroy knows he must cut out the mistakes after he was forced to dig deep just to keep leaders Justin Rose and Tiger Woods in his sights in Tour Championship at East Lake.

The Holywood star (29) dropped shots at the 12th and 14th to slip back to level for the day.

But while he brilliantly birdied the 15th and 17th, he missed a 10 footer for another birdie after a weak chip from greenside rough at the par-five 18th and had to settle for a two-under 68.

That left him alone in third on five-under-par, just two shots behind Woods and Rose in the race for the title.

Pleased with his birdie count but disappointed to make three bogeys, he said: "I'm making enough birdies - five birdies again today - but I made mistakes and didn't birdie either of the par-fives.

"But nobody is going anywhere and I'll probably only be two behind going into the third day. It was nice to play the last four holes in two-under par"

Woods was impressive yet again, patiently turning in level par before three birdies in four holes from the 12th gave him a two-shot lead over Rose on eight under par.

But the 14-time major winner double bogeyed the 16th after plugging his ambitious approach from deep Bermuda in a fairway bunker.

Despite that mistake, he two-putted the 18th for birdie to post a two-under 68 to match world number one Rose, who posted a three-under 67, on seven-under as Rickie Fowler shot 72 to slip four back.

Rose is projected to win the FedEx Cup after points leader Bryson DeChambeau shot a five-over 75 to slither to second last alongside Ryder Cup team-mate Patrick Reed on six-over.

DeChambeau is just one ahead of US Open and US PGA winner Brooks Koepka, who shot a 78 that left him dead last in the 30-man field on seven-over.

On the Challenge Tour, England's Matt Ford shot a 12-under par 60, just hours after Oliver Fisher's historic 59 in Portugal, to lead the Hopps Open de Provence by five shots on 15-under par

Mount Juliet's Gavin Moynihan was the only Irishman to make the cut, adding a 71 to his opening 70 to trail Ford by 12 shots on three-under in a tie for 24th.

In Alabama, Stephanie Meadow made four birdies in an immaculate 68 to lie just three strokes behind American Kendall Dye in the Guardian Championship.

Leona Maguire (23) struggled to a two-over 74 and while she needs a win to break into the top-10 from 34th in the money list, she can earn an exemption to the revamped Q-School finals if she can move into the top 30 after the season-ending Tour Championship.

Tour Championship, Live, Sky Sports, 5.30pm

Irish Independent

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