McIl­roy loses ground with tough fin­ish

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - Golf -

Rory McIl­roy pledged to “go down swing­ing” in his bid to win a ma­jor for the first time in four years. He might have to swing for the fences af­ter the way he fin­ished Satur­day at the Bri­tish Open.

On a day of low scor­ing, McIl­roy bo­geyed two of his last three holes for a 1-un­der 70. In­stead of be­ing two shots be­hind, he was four back, cer­tainly not out of it. And he wasn’t about to change his strat­egy of be­ing ag­gres­sive.

“Go out and hit a lot of driv­ers,” McIl­roy said. “I felt like to­day the course was per­fectly set up to take ad­van­tage of it and at­tack it. Tried to do that for the most part. Maybe my wedge play wasn’t quite as good as it should have been, but I gave my­self plenty of chances.”

McIl­roy said he felt like he left some shots out on the course, and was dis­ap­pointed at the way he fin­ished. Still, he’s won the Open be­fore and be­lieves he has a rea­son­able shot to do it again.

“I’ve got a bit of ex­pe­ri­ence at this,” he said. “Maybe more so than some of the other guys on the leader­board. But the leader­board is packed with a lot of very, very good play­ers.”


Redemption: Zan­der Lom­bard dropped two shots on the 17th hole when he pulled it into a ditch, took a drop, hit into a bunker and missed the cut.

He made up for it in a big way.

“I said to my cad­die walk­ing down the fair­way, ‘Let’s have a fin­ish for the crowds at least,’ ” Lom­bard said.

Af­ter a strong drive on the 18th, the South African hit a gap wedge from 132 yards that landed in front and to the left of the hole, checked and turned to the right and then dropped in for an ea­gle.

“It was just awe­some soak­ing up the en­ergy and tak­ing it in,” Lom­bard said.

One bad swing: Rickie Fowler opened with two birdies in four holes and was one shot out of the lead with a par 5 com­ing up at No. 6.

That turned out to be his un­do­ing.

Fowler pulled his tee shot so far left that it went out-of-bounds. He sent his next shot from the tee some 40 yards to the right, and he wound up mak­ing a triple-bo­gey 8. That wasn’t his only mis­take. He made three more bo­geys, in­clud­ing on the 18th, and that off­set the ea­gle he made on the par-5 14th.

But it added to a 73 – only Pat Perez with a 74 had a higher score among the last 14 play­ers to tee off Satur­day.

“Ob­vi­ously wanted to head in the right di­rec­tion to­day, but didn’t do that,” Fowler said. “Back to the draw­ing board. We'll come out hot to­mor­row and see what we can do. Made some good swings com­ing in, but like I said, just didn’t ex­e­cute through the mid­dle of the front nine and (it) cost me.”

Fowler was eight shots be­hind and plays Sun­day with Pa­trick Reed.

Rose rally: Justin Rose was about 18 feet away from go­ing home Fri­day when he made the birdie putt on the 18th to make the cut on the num­ber.

One day later, he was five shots out of the lead.

No one took ad­van­tage of the calm con­di­tions like Rose, who played bo­geyfree from the third group out and shot 64. It was his low­est score at the Bri­tish Open by two shots, and at the end of the day, Rose was in a tie for 13th.

“There’s a dif­fer­ence be­tween be­ing 3 over on Fri­day and way off the lead and 3 over and way off the lead on Satur­day morn­ing,” Rose said. “You kind of feel a bit more grate­ful to be here rather than Fri­day night, you feel frus­trated to be there. So I think the birdie on 18 last night freed me up, and I’m just very happy to be out on this golf course and not down the road some­where else this morn­ing.

“Ob­vi­ously, I had noth­ing to lose.”

Some buzz about Spi­eth’s hair: The buzz about hair at the Bri­tish Open had been about Tommy Fleet­wood’s flow­ing locks.

On Satur­day it shifted to the buzz Jor­dan Spi­eth got in the bar­ber chair be­fore go­ing out for his third round.

“It looked like a mil­i­tary grade hair­cut,” cracked Kevin Kis­ner, one of Spi­eth’s house­mates this week.

Spi­eth said his hair was get­ting long so he went to a bar­ber be­fore head­ing over to the golf course. He in­tended to get his nor­mal cut, but the bar­ber had some other ideas.

“Very Bri­tish hair­cut,” he said. “A lit­tle shaved on the sides, a lit­tle longer on top. It is what it is. Sum­mer­time, it works out.”

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