Sport Golf

Saturday 24 February 2018

Rory McIlroy's woes continue as FedEx hopes hit following poor round in Northern Trust

Rory McIlroy looks on from the second tee during round one of The Northern Trust at Glen Oaks Club. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Rory McIlroy looks on from the second tee during round one of The Northern Trust at Glen Oaks Club. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

William S Callahan

the blips just keep on coming for Rory McIlroy - the latest arriving just outside New York as he crashed to an opening round three-over 73 at the Northern Trust Open, nine shots off the lead held by Russell Henley.

The world No 4 - who had been contemplating ending his injury-ravaged season early before deciding to press ahead and defend his FedEx Cup crown - mixed three birdies with six bogeys during an erratic display at Glen Oaks Club.

The 28-year-old found rough off the opening tee on his way to an early bogey but bounced back to drain a 30-footer at the next, only to find water off the par-four fifth tee and drop another shot.

McIlroy posted birdies either side of a missed approach and blemish at the seventh, before slipping over par with a missed putt from five feet at the 10th.

McIlroy previously said he was "assessing his options" about whether he would defend his FedExCup title but eventually committed to playing the season finale, beginning the four-tournament stretch 44th in the standings.

A three-putt bogey from 20 feet at the 12th was followed by a tee shot in to water at the 17th on his way to another dropped shot, with McIlroy holing from six feet to save par at the last.

Henley, meanwhile, got off to a solid start with four birdies on the front nine and just one bogey, and the American replicated that on the back nine for a six-under 64.

Jason Day and Jordan Spieth both fired opening round 69s with Justin Rose one shot closer to the early leader's pace.

On the European Tour, England pair Matt Wallace and Steve Webster share a three-way tie for the lead with Australia's Wade Ormsby after the first round of the Made In Denmark.

Afternoon starters Wallace and Webster produced opening rounds of 64 at Himmerland Golf & Spa Resort to join early clubhouse leader Ormsby on seven-under par.

A good start for Paul Dunne sees him just three off the lead. Despite an early bogey, the Greystones ace quickly bounced back to card a 67 which included seven birdies - four of them coming in a row between the 14th and 17th holes.

Veteran Major winner John Daly lies on the same four-under mark.

However, it was a bad day for Dunne's compatriots with Michael Hoey slumping to a four-over 75 and Gary Hurley two shots further back.

Home favourite Thomas Bjorn, who received a rapturous reception from fans wearing masks with his face on to mark his 500th European Tour event, began the tournament with a 73.

Those watching were in for a treat as Zander Lombard and Edoardo Molinari both made aces at the 86-yard 16th hole to bring the total number of holes-in-one on the European Tour to 998.

Made in Denmark

Sky Sports Golf, from 10.0am

The Northern Trust

Sky Sports Golf, 7.0pm

Irish Independent

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