Tuesday 25 June 2019

Wayward McIlroy well of Memorial pace

Rory McIlroy. Photo: AP
Rory McIlroy. Photo: AP

Brian Keogh

Tiger Woods kept early leader Ryan Moore in his sights but it was a day to forget for Rory McIlroy in the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village.

The Holywood star made two double bogeys in a 75 that left him 10 shots off the early pace on three-over par.

As Moore missed just one fairway in his seven-under 65 to head Jordan Spieth by one stroke, McIlroy paid for his mistakes from the tee and carded his highest round this year.

He made a 12-footer for an opening birdie at the 10th and then saved par from 25 feet at the 565 yards 11th despite finding water with his lay-up.

But he was clearly uncomfortable off the tee and ran up a double-bogey seven after losing a ball left off the tee at the par-five 15th, then bogeyed the 17th before launching a three-wood out of bounds right at the second to run up another double bogey.

He would birdie at the par-five fifth but he was ranked last of the morning starters for strokes gained off the tee and ended the day nine shots adrift of playing partner Spieth, who chipped in twice and made 99 feet of putts, including a 36-footer for eagle at the fifth, in his 66.

Woods birdied his 16th and 17th holes for a 70 but admitted he was frustrated that his group featuring Justin Rose and Bryson DeChambeau was put on the clock.

"That was frustrating," said Woods, who can match Sam Snead if he claims his 82nd PGA Tour win in Ohio. "That made things a little more complicated. It's one of those things where it's a group effort to try and get back into position.

"In the group ahead of us; 'JT' (Justin Thomas) doesn't take a lot of time, Rory (McIlroy) plays quick and Jordan (Spieth) was seven-under, so they were obviously playing fast and we were not."

On the European Tour, Gavin Moynihan shot a one-under 70 and Michael Hoey a level-par 71 as Swede Anton Karlsson carded an eight-under 63 to put himself in position to claim the top seeding at the Belgian Knockout.

The top 32 from each side of the draw will make it through to the knockout stages tomorrow and Moynihan was 22nd and Hoey 32nd in their half of the field at Rinkven International, near Antwerp

Meanwhile, Spain's Jon Rahm will tee it up in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Lahinch from July 4-7 seeking his second win in three years.

In the US Women's Open, Stephanie Meadow opened with a three-over 74 at the Country Club of Charleston that left her nine shots behind Japan's Mamiko Higa, who shot a 65, as Leona Maguire headed out in the afternoon wave.

In amateur golf, Dundalk's Caolan Rafferty and Portmarnock's Conor Purcell led the Irish challenge at the Brabazon Trophy at the Alwoodley in Leeds.

Rafferty finished bogey-bogey for a one-under 70 that left him tied for seventh, just four strokes behind England's Charlie Strickland, as Purcell carded a 71 to sit joint 13th.

Belgian Knockout

Live, Sky Sports, 11.0am

The Memorial Tournament

Live, Sky Sports, 1.0pm

US Women's Open

Live, Sky Sports, 7.30pm

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