Thursday 22 March 2018

Rory McIlroy frustrated on the greens

Rory will try to work on the issue by himself

Rory McIlroy suffered a frustrating day on the greens in the final round of the event in California
Rory McIlroy suffered a frustrating day on the greens in the final round of the event in California

William S Callahan

Rory McIlroy will do his best to sort out his putting problems by himself.

The 26-year-old world ­number three signed off the Frys.Com Open, the first ­tournament of the 2015-16 PGA Tour season, with a 69 on his scorecard, some early FedEx Cup points earned, and a focus on his work with the short stick.

As is customary, ­McIlroy made plenty of birdie ­opportunities on the ­Silverado (North) course at Napa, ­California.

If he had converted more of them, he could have been in contention at the business end of the tournament.

The margins are small, but some of the putts he missed, particularly in the first three rounds, caused him to look and sound frustrated.

Before play began on ­Thursday, McIlroy had a session with his putting coach Dave Stockton, and both men felt that the stroke was in good order.

After that the golfer's work on the greens did not match either his hopes or expectations.

His own analysis is that ­technique is not a big problem, and his preference is to find a solution on his own terms.

"I don't think it's not a ­technical issue at all because I putt the ball really well on the putting green.

"Then I go out there and I hole a couple, and maybe I'll miss one or two, and it gets into my head.

"It's more a mental thing and trying to trust myself a little bit more. Whether I need to talk to someone about that I'm not sure," said McIlroy.

When these problems have arisen in the past, he has turned to only two people - Dr Bob Rotella and Dave Stockton.

"I've spoken to some people before, spoken to Dave about the mental side of putting. Worked with Rotella back in 2010, but I like to try and figure things out for myself," he said.

"I feel like I learn more about it that way instead of trying to be told something. I'm going to keep trying to figure it out and see if it improves."

McIlroy started yesterday's final round at -6, eight shots adrift of overnight leader Brendan Steele, and after 14 holes had moved the dial on his score by just one shot, to seven under par.

He three-putted for bogey on the fourth hole, but birdied the next two, holing from five feet on the par-5 5th, and hitting his approach to inside three feet and slotting the putt on the par-4 6th.

Another birdie on the 11th was cancelled out by bogey on the 12th hole where he hit his tee-shot out of bounds.

And then, in typical McIlroy fashion, he produced two more examples of his accuracy on approach shots, hitting to three feet and two feet for birdies on holes 15 and 16.

After that, two pars ended his tournament on a nine under par total of 279.

Meanwhile, England's Andy Sullivan won the weather-­disrupted Portug al Masters at the Oceanico Victoria course in Vilamoura.

It was his third European Tour title of the season.

Sullivan overcame the ­challenges presented by rain and wind which caused the final two rounds to be played on a shotgun start.

He rounded off the event in style with a 66 for 23 under par and victory by nine shots ahead of second-placed compatriot Chris Wood.

Sullivan, 28, previously won the South African Open and the Joburg Open, but a victory on European soil was extra special.

"Those two wins in South Africa were unbelievable but to show your peers that you can do it in Europe as well is incredible," said Sullivan.


Damien McGrane, the ­leading Irishman, had one of his best ­finishes in an overall ­disappointing season to shoot 66 for six under par and tied-29th place. That was worth €18,100.

Pádraig Harrington registered a closing 69 to his previous three successive rounds of 70. That brought him to five under par and a cheque for €15,800.

Paul Dunne (70) and Kevin Phelan (72) finished on +3 and +5 respectively, earning €4,500 and €3,650 respectively.

In the amateur ranks, Olivia Mehaffey from Royal ­County Down Ladies, the world No 16, emphatically won the 30th Telegraph BMW Junior ­Championship girls' title at Quinta do Lago.

Mehaffey, 17, is a great ­prospect who had already won the Irish, Scottish, and Welsh open amateur titles this year.

She scored 69 in the final round of the prestigious 54-hole tournament to win by 16 shots.

"It's my last ever junior ­competition and I put my year down to the hard work over the winter," she said.

Irish Independent

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