PGA Tour — Rory McIlroy putter is red hot heading to the US Open. Not only that, he’s driving like god and only needs to improve his mid irons to go to Oakmont with the perfect game.
The world No 3, second for strokes gained putting moved up from 122nd to 66th in the standings for that stat as he closed with three late birdies from the 15th and a par at the last for a four under par 68 to tie for fourth in The Memorial.
As William McGirt beat John Curran with a par four at the 18th at the second hole of a sudden-death playoff, McIlroy headed to Okamont for a day and a half of practice early this week.
“I’ve never relied on my putting to play my best golf,’’ McIlroy said after finishing two shots outside the playoff at 13 under par with Dustin Johnson (71) third, Jason Day (74) T27 and Jordan Spieth (73) T57.
“Obviously, when you're winning tournaments, you need to hole a few putts, but I'd be way more comfortable changing my putting grip week to week than I would trying to tinker with my swing or do something with my long game.''
McIlroy putted cack-handed for three months but changed back last week to get more feel and felt vindicated.
"Off the tee I was really good this week, and I feel like my putting improved a lot,'' he said. "If you look at the stats from my putting, I feel like it's been really good. So all things considered, it's been a decent week. Time to get ready for Oakmont.’'
While he has only looked at flyovers on the web, McIlroy added: “It looks like an awesome golf course. It looks unbelievably hard and it will reward very good ball-striking.
"It's going to be tough. I remember watching a little bit of it back in '07 when [Angel] Cabrera won. I’d say you’re probably going to expect a similar score [five over] to win this year again if conditions are the way they want them to be.’’
Asked why he needs to work on, McIlroy added: “My iron play hasn’t been great. I’m just not hitting the ball close enough to the flag with my mid-irons. I need to work on that a little bit, try to shallow up the plane a little bit. So that’s what I’ll be working on primarily from now until Thursday."
Costly eight for Hoey
European Tour — A quintuple bogey eight at the 17th proved costly for Michael Hoey who lost over €8,000 in prize money as a closing 77 saw him slip to tied 41st in the Nordea Masters.
Having made his first cut in 11 starts, Hoey was level for his round taking on the island green 17th and walked off with an eight as Matthew Fitzpatrick won his second European Tour title i by three shots at Bro Hof Slott Golf Club.
The Englishman came into the final day with a five-shot advantage, and while he saw that cut to two by a charging Nicolas Colsaerts around the turn, he kept his head on the back nine to sign for a round of 71 and a 16 under par aggregate winning total.
Lasse Jensen not only claimed his best European Tour result as he finished a shot clear of Colsaerts in second, but the Dane also earned a place in the field for the Open Championship at Royal Troon in July with a closing 68.
Peter Lawrie was 45th on four over after a 78. Scores
Power rises on Web.com Tour
Web.com Tour — Seamus Power moved one place up the money list to eighth when he finished tied for seventh in the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship in the Dominican Republic.
The West Waterford player closed with a 69 at Corales Golf Club to finish on 18 under par, six shots behind winner Dominic Bozzelli, who won by four thanks to a fine round 68.
Power picked up $18,828 and is now eighth in the money list with $153,063 and eight cheques from 10 starts
McGee slips back in Lucerne
Challenge Tour — Three dropped shots in his first three holes proved costly as Ruaidhri McGee closed with a three over 74 to finish seven strokes behind the winner in the Swiss Challenge in Lucerne.
One off the pace at Golf Sempachersee, the Rosapenna professional finished up tied for 17th, earning just € 1,897 to lie 29th in the Race to Oman standings.
Cormac Sharvin shot 73 and finished tied 37th on one under with Kevin Phelan (75) 59th on five over.
Germany’s Alexander Knappe carded five birdies in a 68 to win by one on 12 under par from Paul Howard and Espen Kofstad.
Meadow suffers in New Jersey
LPGA Tour — Stephanie Meadow's hopes of making it into next week's KPMG Women's PGA Championship suffered a reverse when she closed with a 75 to finish 55th in the Shoprite LPGA Classic in New Jersey.
Sweden's Anna Nordqvist closed with a 64 to win by one stroke on 17 under par and win $225,000 as Meadow got $4,171 as she ended up on two under par.
eadow needs to play more LPGA events to move up the re-rank and earn more world ranking points so she can qualify for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.