Monday 22 January 2018

Weekend positives but FedEx proves damp squib for McIlroy

Rory McIlroy: Second successive 68
Rory McIlroy: Second successive 68

William S Callahan

RORY McILROY bade a bizarre farewell to America in rain-doused Chicago yesterday, rediscovering at least some of his Midas touch as he signed off at the BMW Championship with a second successive 68.

Though his prospects of making the 30-man field at the FedEx Cup finale in Atlanta were wrecked by shocking rounds of 78 and 77 on Thursday and Friday, McIlroy followed up by posting two sub-70 scores back-to-back for the first time in any event this year.

There were echoes of former glories as McIlroy holed-out from 165 yards in the fairway for an eagle two at the 12th hole at Conway Farms in a round which also included five birdies and 10 one-putt greens.

Yet for the fourth day in succession, he couldn't keep a double-bogey off his card. "A round isn't complete without a double-bogey these days," McIlroy snorted.

Incredibly, his fumbling six at the par four 10th was McIlroy's 12th double bogey in three FedEx Cup play-off events, while he also threw in a triple-bogey seven on Thursday for good measure.

The last time he managed to go through a tournament without making double-bogey or worse was July's Irish Open at Carton, where he missed the cut. The 24-year-old has compiled an outrageous 19 doubles and two trebles in just 22 rounds at six events since the British Open at Muirfield.

McIlroy completed the final tournament of his shambolic 2013 season on the US Tour before a rainstorm waterlogged the course. With just four players finished at that point and the contenders yet to start, the BMW will not be completed until this morning.

Despite playing his final 36-holes in six-under, he was marooned in the lower reaches of the leaderboard on seven-over, 20 behind leader Jim Furyk.

While his US campaign is over, McIlroy has much golf to play. After a month's practice, he resumes in the Korean Open on October 17, then the first of the European Tour's lucrative 'Final Four,' the BMW Masters, a week later in Shanghai.

After a one-day exhibition match with Tiger Woods in China on October 28, McIlroy returns to Shanghai for the HSBC Champions, skips the Turkish Open, then should feature in the 60-man DP World Championship, Europe's Race to Dubai climax.

He plays the Aussie Open in Sydney (Nov 28-Dec 1) and wraps up at Tiger's World Challenge in LA (Dec 2-8).

Graeme McDowell's prospects of clinching the top-six finish he needed at Lake Forest to make the Tour Championship for the first time were bleak as he lay one-over through seven and just inside the BMW top-50 on three-over when rain halted proceedings for a second time.

* eUROPE'S Solheim Cup ace Suzann Pettersen beat New Zealand amateur Lydia Ko, just 16, by two to win the second Major title of her career at the rain-shortened Evian Championship.

"I might start to get a bit emotional,'' the Norwegian said, her voice wavering, as she collected the trophy after shooting a three-under 68 to finish her 54 holes on 10-under. Ko finished with a 70 to come up short in her bid to become the youngest ever Major-winner.

Irish Independent

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