Sunday 21 July 2019

Rory McIlroy "living in the 70s" since split as he abandons phone and gives away laptop

Phil Casey

Rory McIlroy felt like he was back to living in the 70s, but a rare score in the 60s at Wentworth gave the former world number one a much-needed boost in the BMW PGA Championship.

McIlroy announced on Wednesday that he had called off his planned November wedding to former world number one tennis player Caroline Wozniacki, even though invitations had just been sent out.

The 25-year-old admitted he would therefore find it very difficult to concentrate on his golf in the European Tour's flagship event, but did a commendable job with a first round of 68.

"At times it was very difficult but I just tried to bury my head in my golf and I did a pretty good job of it," said McIlroy, who has had just three other sub-70 rounds at Wentworth, missing the cut the last two years.

"It's going to be a very tough week and I am just trying to put my head fully into my golf. I think it's only natural, I don't think you would be human if it wasn't tough, especially when it's a little slow out there and you are waiting between shots.

"I haven't turned on my phone for a few days and I've given my laptop away, I'm sort of living like I'm in the 70s."

McIlroy overcame delays caused by the threat of lightning to card two eagles in his round, spinning a wedge back 30 feet into the hole on the seventh and coming within inches of an albatross on the par-five 12th.

But the two-time major winner still found himself six shots off the lead held by Denmark's Thomas Bjorn, who carded a course-record 62 containing eight birdies and an eagle.

"You shoot great rounds in your career but to shoot 62 on this course, you can't ask for more," said Bjorn, who went on to win the European Masters in 2011 the last time he shot 62 on the European Tour.

"I don't really know where to start. Last week was awful and I was starting to feel a little frustrated with things. Practice this week I was not good either.

"To step out on this course of all courses and play like I did was surprising. Although I lived here for nine years it's not a place where I think it's going to be a great week, but I have to stick my head down now and focus on the rest of the week."

Bjorn's 62 gave him a two-shot lead over Offaly's Shane Lowry, with Spain's Rafael Cabrera-Bello on seven under.

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