Monday 19 February 2018

McIlroy, Willett and Fowler paired at Oakmont

Rory McIlroy Picture: USA Today Sports
Rory McIlroy Picture: USA Today Sports

Rory McIlroy has been paired with Masters winner Danny Willett and fifth-ranked American Rickie Fowler for the first two rounds of next week's US Open in Oakmont, Pennsylvania.

World No 3 McIlroy, the 2011 champion, will tee off with his partners at 1.24pm, Irish time on Thursday for their opening round, and 7.09pm for their second.

Shane Lowry goes out 11 minutes after McIlroy on both days, alongside Chris Krk and Emiliano Grillo.

Defending champion Jordan Spieth and fellow Americans Zach Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau form an eye-catching grouping. World No 2 Spieth, who won last year's title by one shot after a thrilling finish at Chambers Bay, reigning British Open champion Johnson and DeChambeau start on the 10th tee at 1.35.

Jason Day, the Australian world No 1 and winner of last year's PGA Championship, will tee off from the first hole at 7.20pm on Thursday, along with compatriot Adam Scott and South African Louis Oosthuizen.

On the course yesterday, France's Gregory Bourdy and South Africa's Zander Lombard share the lead at the halfway stage of the Lyoness Open after Spain's Adrian Otaegui discovered what a difference a day can make.

Otaegui held the overnight lead after equalling the course record with a flawless opening 64, but failed to register a single birdie yesterday as he slumped to a 76 at Diamond Country Club in Austria to lie three shots off the pace.

Bourdy's chances of a fifth European Tour title suffered an early blow when, after starting from the 10th, he bogeyed his second hole of the day, but the world No 135 bounced back with birdies on the 14th and 15th.

After a run of eight pars the 34-year-old then completed his round in style, tapping in for birdie on the par-three sixth and almost holing his approach from 209 yards on the ninth for a 69.

Lombard surged into a two-shot lead thanks to four birdies in his first six holes and recovered from a bogey on the eighth with another birdie on the ninth, but had to settle for a 70 after dropped shots on the 12th and 13th.

Michael Hoey is tied for 15th position on one under. Peter Lawrie and Paul Dunne both missed the cut on seven over par after second rounds of 75.

On the US Tour, Padraig Harrington, even with a birdie on the last, had another day to forget with a 73 following up an opening 77 to leave him 10 over par and comfortably missing the cut. Graeme McDowell also missed the cut on six over while Daniel Berger leads on nine under.

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