Er­ratic McIlroy eight off lead as his hopes fade in Race for Dubai

Belfast Telegraph - - SPORT - BY BRIAN KEOGH

SHANE Lowry surged into con­tention for the Ned­bank Golf Chal­lenge as Rory McIlroy en­dured an­other roller coaster round in Sun City.

The world No 70 closed with a birdie to add a three-un­der 69 to his open­ing 71 and move up to tied fourth, five strokes be­hind Ser­gio Gar­cia on four-un­der par.

But it was an­other frus­trat­ing day for McIlroy at the Gary Player Coun­try Club as he posted an er­ratic, one-un­der 71 that left him where he started the day, eight be­hind Gar­cia.

The Holy­wood man knows he can af­ford to fin­ish no worse than sec­ond if he’s to have any chance of over­tak­ing Francesco Moli­nari with a win in next week’s sea­son-end­ing DP World Tour Cham­pi­onship and claim his fourth Race to Dubai ti­tle.

But af­ter start­ing promis­ingly with birdies at the sec­ond and third, he missed too many fair­ways and mixed three bo­geys with two birdies mid-round, even miss­ing a two-foot tid­dler for par at the eighth.

“It’s been a frus­trat­ing cou­ple of days,” con­fessed McIlroy, who is tied for 19th on one un­der par.

“My game is not re­ally where I want it to be, but I’ve got two more op­por­tu­ni­ties this week to try and put a cou­ple of good rounds to­gether and then go to Dubai and try to fin­ish the sea­son on a high.

“I need to tidy up my game off the tee, and then if I do that, you can give your­self a lot of chances around here, but you need to get the ball in the fair­way first.”

Lowry, who is 41st in the Race to Dubai but tar­get­ing a top-30 spot that would earn him ex­emp­tion at next year’s Open Cham­pi­onship at Royal Portrush, birdied the sec­ond and fifth and af­ter a bo­gey at the eighth had a birdie four at the 14th and rolled in an­other from eight feet at the last.

On the PGA Tour, Graeme McDow­ell’s sec­ond suc­ces­sive 70 left him a shot out­side the pro­jected cut on two-un­der par.

Roller coaster: Rory McIlroy shot a one-un­der 71 yes­ter­day in Sun City

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