Tuesday 26 March 2019

Power surges back on frustrating day for McIlroy

Rory McIlroy will not play in this year's Irish Open
Rory McIlroy will not play in this year's Irish Open

Brian Keogh

Seamus Power bounced back from his miserable run of form with a battling 70 as Rory McIlroy struggled on the greens in opening round of the Genesis Open at a soggy Riviera Country Club.

The West Waterford man (31) has missed seven cuts in a row and eight in nine starts since the season began last October.

But as McIlroy slipped from two-under after eight to post a one-over 72, the Tooraneena native chiselled out a one-under 70 that left him tied with stars Tiger Woods, Tommy Fleetwood and Bryson DeChambeau, seven adrift of first-round leader JB Holmes, whose eight-under 63 was one better than Jordan Spieth, before heading out to try and complete his second round before dark.

A lowly 189th in the FedEx Cup standings, Power hasn't made a cut since he finished 19th in the Sanderson Farms Championship three-and-a-half months ago.

But he had to dig deep to finish in the red after he bogeyed the 10th and 12th to be two-over after three holes.

Putting well, he made birdies at the 15th, 17th, first and seventh and while he had a bogey at the ninth, where he came up short in a greenside bunker, a sub-par start was badly needed.

McIlroy was tied with playing partner Justin Thomas on two-under after eight holes, four shots better than Woods.

But he three-putted the ninth from 16 feet, missing a 30-inch tiddler for par before following failures to birdie the driveable 10th or reachable par-five 11th with back-to-back bogeys off wayward drives at the 12th and 13th.

Wayward off the tee early on the back nine, his frustration grew when he missed birdie chances at the 14th and 15th and another from just five feet at the 17th

But getting the ball in the hole proved no problem for Spieth, who had six holes of his first round to complete and made birdies at the sixth and ninth yesterday to card a seven-under 64 and lead by two in the clubhouse from Patrick Rodgers, Tony Finau and Kramer Hickok.

"This afternoon wave's getting a soft golf course with the tees up and some pretty benign conditions," said Spieth, who chipped in twice and had just 21 putts to McIlroy's 32.

"Even though it's Riviera, it's as gettable as it can possibly be right now."

On the Sunshine Tour, Team Ireland's Neil O'Briain could only manage a level-par 72 at the Montagu course in the Dimension Data Pro-Am and shares 17th on six-under at Fancourt.

He's eight strokes behind South Africa's Jaco van Zyl, who shot a seven-under-par 66 at The Links to lead by two strokes from compatriot Justin Walters on 14-under.

Ardglass's Cormac Sharvin is joint 26th on five-under after a 70 on the Outeniqua course where Portmarnock Links' Robin Dawson birdied his last two holes to card a 72 and share 91st on one-over, three shots outside the projected 54-hole cut mark.

In Australia, Michael Hoey and Paul Dunne went into this morning's third round seeking spots in the matchplay stage of the ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth at Lake Karrinyup Country Club.

Hoey shot a 72 to share 17th on four-under as Dunne fired a 68 to lie a shot further in 24th with the top 24 after three rounds making the six-hole knockout stage tomorrow.

Gavin Moynihan missed the one-under cut by two shots despite coming back from two-over after nine to shoot a one-under 71 as Belgian Thomas Pieters, Kiwi Ryan Fox, Australia's Matthew Griffin and Panuphol Pittayarat of Thailand shared the lead on eight-under.

In the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open, Stephanie Meadow made the cut on the two-over mark after a brace of 73s.

Genesis Open,

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ISPS Handa World Super 6,

Live, Sky Sports, 5.0am

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