McIl­roy’s Dubai hopes fade

The Irish Times - Sports Weekend - - SPORTS -

Home favourite Louis Oosthuizen pro­duced a strong back nine to card a five-un­der-par 67 and trail leader Ser­gio Garcia by one shot at the half­way stage of the Ned­bank Golf Chal­lenge.

Garcia was fault­less in shoot­ing 64 in his open­ing round, but found the go­ing much tougher ´yes­ter­day as he fin­ished with a 71 and a nine un­der-par to­tal at the Gary Player Coun­try Club.

Chal­lenger

Oosthuizen is his near­est chal­lenger as he seeks a first win at a tour­na­ment he has long cov­eted, with Fin­land’s Mikko Korho­nen three shots back on six un­der.

Ir­le­and’s Shane Lowry is in a share of fourth place, a round of 69 mov­ing him to four un­der while Rory McIl­roy finds him­self three shots fur­ther back. The world num­ber six carded a 71 and is one un­der-par for the tour­na­ment as his hopes of win­ning the Race to Dubai fade.

“I haven’t been giv­ing my­self good po­si­tions off the tee to give me chances with irons and get close enough to have a good look at birdies,” McIl­roy said. “I need to tidy up my game off the tee. If you do that you give your­self a chance.”

Oosthuizen looked to be strug­gling af­ter a dou­ble-bo­gey on the eighth hole saw him turn at one un­der-par for the round. But an ea­gle on the 10th and birdies on 14 and 15 el­e­vated the 2010 Bri­tish Open win­ner up the leader­board on a dif­fi­cult day for scor­ing with a swirling breeze.

Good run

“I’m pretty happy with the round,” the South African said af­ter­wards. “Af­ter eight I had a good run at a few holes. I feel like I’m play­ing nicely, I’m just try­ing to hit the fair­ways and the irons feel pretty good.

“You have to play the wind as you feel it be­cause it is so in­con­sis­tent. It’s a golf course that you need to be pa­tient around.”

At one stage Garcia led by five shots as he opened his round with birdies on the first two holes, but four bo­geys, in­clud­ing the 18th, spoiled his day and al­lowed oth­ers to close in around him.

Ross Fisher (72) looked like he would be one of those be­fore drop­ping an as­ton­ish­ing eight shots on his fi­nal four holes.

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