Saturday 7 December 2019

Rory runs out of gas down the straight

Claude Hooper

RORY McILROY revved-up and roared away from his FedEx Cup rivals in the The BMW … then misfired down the finishing straight.

The World No 1 dropped a couple of shots in his final three holes and, after signing for a three-under par 67, had to settle for a share of a fragile early clubhouse lead with Americans Gary Woodland and Jordan Spieth.

McIlroy threatened to overpower the classic golf course at Cherry Hills just outside Denver as he sped to five-under par through 12 holes.

In the thin air of the Rocky Mountains, McIlroy this week has been hitting his 3-wood a stunning 370 yards. If anything, his game, when matched with modern club and ball technology is too powerful for a track with deep, major championship rough.

Inevitably, this asked questions of his short game and, for the most part, McIlroy answered them. Along with the two birdies he made on his outward half was an droit par save from a greenside bunker at 16.

Birdies were as easy as one, two, three for McIlroy as he surged clear of his pursuers on the front nine. When he made a miraculous par out of a night-impossible lie in bottomless rough on a sidehill tight to the fin on the fifth green, he looked invulnerable.

Yet he'd admitted this week to "feeling a little tired" after a spectacular summer and it showed at seven where he drive into deep right rough , ended up in a greenside trap and failed to get up and down. Then he found the right trap at the 273 yards par three eighth, got an unlucky bounce with his escape and two putted from six feet. McIlroy looked weary and disconsolate at the finish.

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