Rory McIlroy bid comes a cropper in water
ONE bad swing yesterday ended Rory McIlroy’s hopes of going into his US Open title defence with a fourth PGA Tour victory.
The 23-year-old world No 2 was joint leader at the FedEx St Jude Classic in Memphis when he hooked into the middle of a lake off the final tee. Then, by missing a four-foot putt, McIlroy double-bogeyed and dropped all the way to joint seventh place.
The title went instead to American Ryder Cup player Dustin Johnson in only his second event back from a back injury that kept him out of golf for over two months.
Johnson birdied two of the last three for a four-under-par 66 and on nine under a one-stroke victory over compatriot John Merrick, whose chip to force a play-off lipped out.
“I was at home for 10 weeks or something – it was tough,” said Johnson, who now moves back into the world’s top 10. “Last week I was a little rusty and didn’t finish off my rounds, but this week I finished a lot better.”
Halfway leader McIlroy had resumed one behind Merrick, Davis Love and Nick O’Hern, but, after birdies at the second, fourth, seventh and short 11th, where he almost holed-in-one, he found himself two in front. However, it was not to be on a day when the top of the leaderboard changed 26 times.
The Northern Irishman bogeyed the 14th before a brilliant birdie at the penultimate hole. Finding the left rough forced him to go under a tree with his approach, but he ran the ball up to 20 feet and sank the birdie putt to move alongside Johnson, Chad Campbell and Merrick.
Johnson had holed from 11 feet at the long 16th and as he followed that with an eight-footer both McIlroy and Campbell both put their final drives into the drink. Campbell made bogey and ended up joint third with Ryder Cup captain Love, Ryan Palmer and Australian left-hander O’Hern.
England’s Greg Owen closed with a 65 for joint 11th, while Dubliner Padraig Harrington and Scot Martin Laird shot 69s to finish 13th and 24th respectively.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: South west