Rory McIlroy has always been a streaky putter but it seem likely his often superb putting in round two of the Deutsche Bank Championship had less to do with chance and everything to do with new putting coach Phil Kenyon.
The Ulster man had nines of 33 and 34, carding a four under 67 featuring seven birdies and three bogeys as holed over 120 ft of putts.
He made 90 feet of putts on his outward nine alone with a bogey save from 11 ft, a five footer par saver and birdies from 4ft, 18ft, 17ft, 12ft and 18ft.
He had just three single putts on the back nine with a 10 footer at the 12th his only range birdie as he two putted the par-five 18th for his the gain.
Ironically, he said it was the 15 footer he holed for a triple bogey on the third round of his first round that got the ball rolling.
“It was probably the best putt I holed in a couple weeks,” he said. “It was nice. I've had a good comeback since then and I feel like my game feels good, tee to green feels good, it's just a matter of holing a few putts and getting some momentum.”
According to Golf Digest:
McIlroy made a half-dozen putts outside 10 feet and took just 25 putts in all, including only 10 through his first nine holes.
Why the turnaround?
McIlroy, who began working with new putting coach Phil Kenyon last week, adjusted how he was gripping the putter, placing it more in his fingers to help get better feel with his stroke.
There were other factors, too, most of which revolve around getting the putter swinging on a good arc and keeping the face square through impact.
The results were encouraging and for McIlroy that’s just as important.
“It's a work in progress but we're just trying to make everything simpler,” McIlroy said. “There were a lot of moving parts in my putting stroke and just trying to simplify it as much as I possibly can.
“I think now with what I saw on the greens today at least, [my caddie] said to me now we feel like we can go and shoot a low score. Today was very encouraging, it really was. I'm coming off, I'm really happy.”
As for the tournament, McIlroy is tied for 30th on four under and seven behind Kevin Chappell (67 64) who leads by one on 11 under from Paul Casey (66 66) and US PGA winner Jimmy Walker (68 64,)
McIlroy is projected to fall two places to 40th in the FedExCup while new dad Graeme McDowell will slip to 46th after he missed the cut (74 70) by three strokes.
Bad day for Meadow in Canada
LPGA — Stephanie Meadow slipped back to 73rd on two over after a disappointing double bogey six on the 18th led to a three over 75 in the third round of the Manulife PGA Classic at Whistle Bear Golf Club in Ontario.
The Jordanstown star is 16 strokes behind Mi Hyang Lee of Korea, who leads by one from compatriot Hyo Joo Kim. Scores
Boucher declared Munster Over 30s champ
Amateur golf — Limerick's Sean Poucher won the Munster Over 30s by a stroke from Peter O'Keeffe after the third and final round was rained off. He finished on one under 143 after rounds of 69 and 74. Pat Murray was third. Scores
Marc up to scratch
Amateur — Delgany's Marc Nolan won the Carlow Senior Scratch Cup by four strokes on 140 from from Ronan Mullarney (Galway/Maynooth University).
In Donegal, Kyle McCarron leads the Rosapenna Senior Scratch Cup by six shots from Tiarnan McLarnon and Eddie McCormack with one round to go.
Knappe five clear
Challenge Tour — Alexander Knappe will take a five shot advantage into the final round of the Cordon Golf Open despite finishing his round with an unfortunate triple bogey at Golf Blue Green de Pléneuf Val André.
The German was in a race all of his own for most of the third afternoon, at one point moving to 18 under par to lead by nine shots, but ultimately his one under par 69 was enough to take him to 12 under par overall and extend his lead by three shots.
The 27 year old took a maiden European Challenge Tour title at the Swiss Challenge this season and, on a long day on course in Brittany, will tomorrow seek to become the first two-time winner on this year’s Road to Oman.
Chris Selfirdge is the best of the Irish, 11 behind Knappe on 209 after a 69 with Rory McNamara (69) a shot further back.
Kevin Phelan and Gary Hurley shot 73 and 75 respectively to fall back to 212 and 216.
Scores after round 3: 198 A Knappe (Ger) 68 61 69; 203 A Schwartz (Fra) 69 65 69, S Brown (Eng) 66 66 71, O Stark (Swe) 71 64 68, D Vancsik (Arg) 66 69 68; 204 D Stewart (Sco) 71 65 68, M Orrin (Eng) 70 71 63, N Cullen (Aus) 68 70 66, M Nixon (Eng) 63 72 69, J Lando Casanova (Fra) 68 67 69
Irish: 209 C Selfridge (Nir) 72 68 69; 210 R McNamara (Irl) 71 70 69; 212 K Phelan (Irl) 69 70 73; 216 G Hurley (Irl) 71 70 75.