Sport Golf

Friday 23 August 2019

McIlroy needs to 'sharpen up' for big test

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy. Photo: Jane Barlow/PA Wire
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy. Photo: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Brian Keogh

Rory McIlroy finished in the pack at the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open and admitted he must sharpen up around the greens to be ready for The Open.

Pleased with his week's work, he closed with a two-under 69 to finish tied for 34th on 13-under at the Renaissance Club - nine shots outside a play-off that saw Austria's Bernd Wiesberger edge out Frenchman Benjamin Hebert with a par at the third extra hole.

"I didn't judge the lies around the greens very well this week, that's just getting used to links golf again," McIlroy said. "So if I can just sharpen that up and sharpen up those little shots around the greens I'll be right there."

As for ending his five-year Major drought this week, he added: "If I'm being honest, it would obviously mean the world to me.

"But just like winning Hoylake meant the world to me, as well. Just getting my hands on that Claret Jug again would be a huge accomplishment."

Hebert shot 62 to set the target at 22-under, but missed a three-footer for a winning par on their second trip down the 18th and then three-putted on their third visit as Irish Open runner-up Wiesberger made par to secure the €1.16 million prize.

Hebert had to settle for one of three exemptions into The Open alongside Andrew Johnston, who shot 62, and Italian Nino Bertasio.

There was also joy for Dundalk amateur Brendan Lawlor, who carded a brilliant 71 to win the inaugural EDGA Scottish Open - a concurrent, 36-hole event featuring 10 players from the World Rankings for Golfers with Disability.

On the PGA Tour, Seamus Power missed a golden opportunity to wrap up his PGA Tour credentials credentials as South Africa's Dylan Frittelli shot 64 to win the John Deere Classic and a spot in The Open. Tied for 11th at halfway, he crashed to a 75 in the third round and then closed with a two-under 69 to finish tied for 61st on six-under-par.

With just three regular-season events left, he was projected to fall from 130th to 137th in the FedExCup standings with only the top 125 guaranteed full playing privileges.

Cormac Sharvin leapt to seventh in the race for 15 European Tour cards after he shot weekend rounds of 65 and 69 to finish fifth on seven-under in the Challenge Tour's Le Vaudreuil Golf Challenge, four strokes behind England's Steven Tiley.

On the LPGA Tour, Stephanie Meadow closed with a four-under 67 in the Marathon Classic to caress a top-10 finish and her first cheque in seven starts. Leona Maguire tied 14th in the Symetra Tour's Donald Ross Classic at French Lick Resort on Saturday to remain third in the race for 10 LPGA Tour cards.

Irish Independent

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