Sunday 17 December 2017

McIlroy set for Match Play date with Els

RORY McILROY is heading for a first-round showdown with Ernie Els at the Accenture Match Play next Wednesday following the withdrawal of the injured Paul Casey from the first World Golf Championship of 2012.

Casey has not recovered from the shoulder injury he sustained while snowboarding in Colorado during his winter break, but he still hopes to play in the Cadillac Championship in Doral in three weeks' time.

The Englishman's replacement, world No 66 George Coetzee of South Africa, will make his World Championship debut against global No 1 and defending champion Luke Donald in the first round, provided there are no further withdrawals.

Donald and fellow Englishman Justin Rose both made a satisfactory start to the Northern Trust Open yesterday with one-under-par 70s in difficult conditions at Riviera CC.

• GALWAY stalwart Eddie McCormack pitched in for a magical eagle two at the 10th hole as he eased clear of a crack field at the Portuguese International Amateur Championship yesterday.

McCormack followed up on his splendid opening 67 with a fine 71, moving him to four-under, one ahead of the pack.

Eoin Arthurs was next best of the Irish, sharing 15th on even par after a 73. Nicky Grant shot a sweet 67 to move up to 18th on one-over.

Harry Diamond was tied 57th on six-over following his 73, with Rory McNamara (74) and Alan Dunbar (75) one shot further back in 72nd.

Northern Trust Open,

Live, Sky Sports 3, 8.0

Irish Independent

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