Sport Golf

Wednesday 20 March 2019

Rain dance for Rose as McIlroy sits tight in Philly

Justin Rose leads by a shot after his third-round 64 on Saturday getty. Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Justin Rose leads by a shot after his third-round 64 on Saturday getty. Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Brian Keogh

Justin Rose might be doing a rain dance but Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth are praying the rain-delayed BMW Championship will be completed at Aronimink today.

Heavy rain washed out the third round yesterday and with more rain forecast last night, the third FedEx Cup playoff event could be reduced to 54 holes today, meaning that overnight leader Rose will get his tenth PGA Tour win and become the new world No 1.

The former US Open champion (38) shot a six-under 64 in Saturday's third round to lead by a shot from Ryder Cup hopeful Xander Schauffele and a reinvigorated McIlroy on 17-under par.

McIlroy is certainly hoping more play is possible today after he made seven birdies, a double bogey and a bounce-back eagle in a 63 to move up to tied second.

The Co Down man wants to win to move into the top five in the FedEx Cup standings who will head to the Tour Championship with their fate in their own hands.

"I'll be ready to play. I'll be ready to go. I hope we play," McIlroy said after his spectacular third round in Philadelphia. "I feel like my game is in good shape and I'd love to get another crack at it out there and have a chance to take the lead.

"Maybe that chance won't happen until Monday if it goes to that and the good thing is we don't have a tournament next week."

Johnson, who is tied for 33rd, eight strokes behind Rose, will lose his number one spot if the Englishman wins today.

But with only the top 30 in the FedEx Cup standings advancing to East Lake next week, 31st ranked Spieth is in danger of missing the Tour Championship for the first time in his career.

The three-time Major winner could also fall foul of a PGA Tour a tour policy that requires players to play at least 25 events in a season or to add a new event that they haven't played in the last four.

Spieth made only 22 starts last season and did not add a new event to his schedule this season.

Meanwhile, Shane Lowry will return to European Tour action at next week's Portugal Masters with a new caddie on his bag.


Irishman Brian "Bo" Martin, who has caddied for the likes of Gary Murphy and Peter Lawrie and helped Frenchman Alex Levy and Dane Lucas Bjerregaard win in Portugal in 2014 and 2017 respectively, takes over full time.

Lowry's brother Alan filled in for a month following the Offaly man's split with Dermot Byrne at The Open.

Bjerregaard almost claimed his second European Tour win yesterday but had to settle for second place as Matthew Fitzpatrick birdied the first playoff hole to become the first man since Seve Ballesteros in 1978 to defend the Omega European Masters.

The Englishman (24) started the day four shots ahead of Bjerregaard but the Dane carded a brilliant seven-under 63 to set the target at 17-under and Fitzpatrick had to birdie the last for a 67 to take it to extra holes.

Returning to the 18th for the playoff, Fitzpatrick hit his approach to 12 feet and made the putt to claim his fifth European Tour win since he came through the Q-School four years ago.

On the Challenge Tour, Ardglass' Cormac Sharvin (26), a nephew of Lowry's new bagman, closed with a six-under 65 to tie for fourth in the Bridgestone Challenge at Luton Hoo Hotel, Golf & Spa.

He finished seven shots behind England's Tom Lewis who shot 64 to win by five strokes on 23-under par from Sweden's Sebastian Soderberg and Australia's Dimitrios Papadatos with Clandeboye's Jonny Caldwell tied 58th on four-under after a 72.

It was also a good day for Headfort's Brendan McGovern on the Staysure Tour as he shot a three-under 68 to tie for sixth in the European Tour Properties Senior Classic at Lighthouse Golf and Spa Resort in Bulgaria.

He finished six shots behind Sweden's Magnus P Atlevi, who fired a 67 to win by three shots from Stephen Dodd on 14-under to move up to 31st in the money list.

On the Symetra Tour, Leona Maguire closed with a four-under 68 to finish tied for 11th on 10-under par in the Garden City Charity Classic in Kansas, six shots behind Allyssa Ferrell.

Ferrell shot 65 to win by two shots on 14-under with Stephanie Meadow tied 14th on nine-under after a 69.

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