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Irish Open 2016

Round 4 - Rory McIlroy seals three shot win

May 22, 2016

Rory McIlroy eagled the final hole to clinch his first victory of the season Sunday at the Irish Open, his home tournament where he's famously struggled over the years.

McIlroy's three-shot triumph over Scotland's Russell Knox and Bradley Dredge of Wales wasn't smooth sailing. But the Northern Ireland native prevailed with a 3-under 69, thanks to superior driving power that allowed him to birdie the K Club's first three par-5 holes - then demolish the competition with his final powerful approach shot.

His 253-meter (276-yard) second strike on the 18th landed within three feet of the pin to the deafening cheers of tens of thousands who had braved downpours and hail showers to witness the moment. McIlroy grinned and brushed away a tear or two as he approached the green.

When McIlroy calmly converted his only eagle of the tournament, he stood still and silent for a second. Then he pumped both fists in elation.

''To finish like that today, I'll never forget it,'' McIlroy said after receiving the crystal winner's trophy beside Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny.

Third-ranked McIlroy long has made winning the Irish Open an elusive priority, his past failures all the more awkward because he's also the tournament's official host and donates his prize money to his Rory Foundation children's charity. He had failed to make the Irish Open cut since 2012. His previous best was seventh place in 2008.

McIlroy looked in danger of squandering his three-stroke lead at the start of Sunday's final round as Knox, playing alongside him, putted impressively while McIlroy wasted opportunity after opportunity on the greens, including a miss for bogey from barely two feet on the par-4 11th hole.

When Knox birdied the 14th and 15th holes to seize a one-shot lead, McIlroy responded with arguably his greatest shot of the year - a go-for-broke drive across the River Liffey that landed improbably in the heart of the 16th green. As the fans roared their approval, a rattled Knox struck his only back-nine bogey as McIlroy two-putted for a go-ahead birdie.

''I was taking a risk. ... It was a huge turning point,'' said McIlroy, who added it was hard for him to keep his focus ''when there's 30,000 people roaring you on. The ovation I got when that ball landed on the 16th green sent shivers down my spine.''

McIlroy nearly birdied the par-3 17th as well, but simply laughed when the ball circled the cup and rolled a few inches back in his direction.

McIlroy, who now faces three majors in the next 10 weeks, described his Irish breakthrough as a needed psychological ''catapult'' to reclaim his best form.

''I felt I needed a week like this to kick-start something. No better place than back here at home in Ireland,'' he said.

Ireland's consistently inconsistent weather added another layer of drama.

Lightning storms caused four hours of delays Saturday that forced a dozen players, including McIlroy, to complete the third round at sunrise Sunday. His 21 holes of golf took nearly 10 hours to complete as Sunday's meteorological menu included wintry monsoons that left fairways and greens waterlogged and carpeted with hailstones, causing two more suspensions in play.

Round 3 - Rory McIlroy moves ahead

May 21, 2016

Tournament host Rory McIlroy insisted common sense prevailed in having play stopped on an already rain-interrupted third day of the Irish Open on Saturday.

McIlroy was three shots clear of his rivals, at nine under par and standing on the 16th tee near 2020 local time (1920GMT) when he became locked in talks with a European Tour official over the value of teeing up in the deteriorating light and continuing rain at the K. Club.

The four-time Major winner clearly did not want to play his tee shot and then have played called for the day after two prior lengthy stoppages.

Play had been suspended firstly for two hours and 18 minutes but no sooner had the players ventured back onto the course and there was a further one-and-a-half delay ahead of a 1955 local time (1855GMT) resumption.

McIlroy had moved to nine under par with a second birdie of his round at the 10th hole and on return following the second stoppage.

Fortunately, common sense prevailed and with McIlroy winning through as play was halted at 2028 local time, and with the third round to continue at 0730am local time Sunday.

“I was getting feedback that people around the 16th green were complaining how dark it was getting and then on the 17th tee what with all the trees surrounding the green,” said McIlroy.

“As well, I had trouble reading my putt on the 15th green so I didn’t know where to hit it and I said to my caddy: ‘I’ll just hit it straight’.

“But they made the right call as it was just getting so dark and I just was not comfortable hitting that tee shot at 16, and also at the thought of having to come back in the morning to play my second shot.”

McIlroy has finally put himself in position to end a six-month winless drought with a bogey-free 15 holes and three shots clear of Masters champion, Danny Willett who will restart his round also on the 16th tee at six under par.

“Today was a day just to hang in there and not make too many mistakes and that’s what I said on Friday that I wanted to do today,” McIlroy said.

“I’ve had no bogeys in 15 holes and that is good, and while I left a few out there I cannot complain having a three shot lead and with three holes to play to try and get into double digit figures.”

Scotland’s Russell Knox enjoys the clubhouse lead shooting a two under par and finish on five under par.

Knox had cracked the face of his driver in a round of 75 on day one and after borrowing a replacement, the current world number 38 added a second round 66 and is now in line for a hopeful top-three finish on a first visit to Ireland.

"I was pathetic the first day, brilliant on Friday but not too great today," said Knox.

Frenchman Sebastien Gros moved to a then share of second place at six under par when he eagled the 16th.

However, the 26-year old, who won twice on last year’s secondary Challenge Tour, then put three balls into the water at the par four 17th, including two off the tee and a third into the water guarding the green in taking a quadruple bogey eight.

The Frenchman ended with a round of 73 and a clubhouse share of 14th place.

Round 2 - Rory McIlroy chasing Danny Willett

May 20, 2016

Rory McIlroy achieved his first aim at the Irish Open: Making the cut for the first time in four years.

The next target for the world No. 3 is clinching his first win of 2016. He'll have to reel in Masters champion Danny Willett to do so.

McIlroy shot a 2-under 70 in the second round on Friday to be one stroke behind Willett (71) and Marc Warren (66) at the K Club heading into the weekend. Willett and Warren were on 8-under 136.

''The Irish Open is one of the most important tournaments of my year and I'd dearly love to win it one day,'' McIlroy said. ''I feel like I've given myself a great chance.''

McIlroy has had six top-10 finishes in 10 events but is the only member of the world's top five without a win this year. He rolled in five birdies in a round made tough by gusting winds, with two of the putts from 31 feet and 20 feet on the back nine.

''I just feel like there's something waiting there to click and when it does, I could be off and running,'' McIlroy said, ''and that could be the catapult or the momentum that I need to have another great summer.''

Willett, appearing in his second event since winning at Augusta National, couldn't emulate his 65 on day one and had four bogeys in what he called a ''scrappy'' round. He found the rain-slick greens and winds deceptive at times.

When one short-range chip shot rolled unexpectedly to the far side of the green, Willett could be overheard telling his caddie: ''That's just ridiculous.''

''Balls are flying miles,'' Willett said afterward.

Warren, ranked 132nd in the world, has failed to make the cut in six of his previous nine tournaments. He said he arrived at the K Club with low expectations of contending with McIlroy and Willett, yet had seven birdies in his second round - including chipping in at the par-3 eighth.

''Finishing with three birdies in the last four holes added a little shine to it,'' Warren said. ''I'd have taken pars coming in.''

English player Matthew Southgate shot 69 in the afternoon to move into fourth place on 5 under, a stroke ahead of Jaco van Zyl (72), Richard Sterne (68) and Tyrrell Hatton (68).

The cut was at 2 over.

Round 1 - Danny Willett leads with opening 65

May 20, 2016

Masters champion Danny Willett struck an opening round of 7-under 65 in the Irish Open to take a two-shot lead over home favorite Rory McIlroy on Thursday.

Willett continued his impressive form barely a month after he won his first major title at Augusta. He hit eight birdies and dropped his only shot on the 17th when his par-saving putt stopped on the edge of the cup.

He putted precisely despite blustery conditions on the 7,350-yard (6,719-meter) course at the K Club, an American-style parkland venue designed by Arnold Palmer that hosted the 2006 Ryder Cup.

Willett said it would be terrific if he and McIlroy remained close together atop the leaderboard through Sunday's finale to give Ireland's passionate golf fans maximum entertainment. World No. 3 McIlroy and Willett, No. 9, are the two highest-ranked players at the Irish Open.

''That would be good fun,'' Willett said.

McIlroy, the tournament host, said his solid performance provided only a little relief after his failure to make the Irish Open cut the past three years, a record he called ''extremely disappointing.''

''It's only one day. I still have to make the cut tomorrow,'' McIlroy said. ''Until I get into contention in this event and finally win it, I don't feel like any weight will be lifted off my shoulders.''

McIlroy appeared poised to take a share of the lead until he turned an eagle opportunity on the par-3 14th hole into a three-putt bogey. He dropped his head in frustration after badly overhitting his four-foot birdie chance.

He saved his best for last with a powerful tee shot on to the par-5 18th. His second shot with a 6 iron dropped within 10 feet of the pin for another eagle opportunity, but that putt curled short and right with the gusting wind. He settled for his sixth birdie of the round.

England's Callum Shinkwin and South Africa's Jaco Van Zyl shared third place, one stroke behind McIlroy.

Scores

1 NIR Rory McIlroy -12 18 -3 67 70 70 69 276
T2 WAL Bradley Dredge -9 18 -6 71 70 72 66 279
T2 SCO Russell Knox -9 18 -4 75 66 70 68 279
4 ENG Matthew Southgate -8 18 -4 70 69 73 68 280
T5 ENG Tyrrell Hatton -6 18 -2 72 68 72 70 282
T5 GER Martin Kaymer -6 18 -7 69 73 75 65 282
T5 GER Maximilian Kieffer -6 18 -5 77 68 70 67 282
T8 ESP Rafael Cabrera-Bello -5 18 -2 72 71 70 70 283
T8 ENG Eddie Pepperell -5 18 -6 71 70 76 66 283
T10 FRA Gregory Bourdy -4 18 -1 72 73 68 71 284
T10 WAL Jamie Donaldson -4 18 -1 71 70 72 71 284
T10 FRA Sebastien Gros -4 18 -2 71 70 73 70 284
T10 SWE Rikard Karlberg -4 18 -6 73 73 72 66 284
T10 ENG James Morrison -4 18 -3 70 76 69 69 284
T10 DNK Thorbjorn Olesen -4 18 -6 72 72 74 66 284
T10 RSA Richard Sterne -4 18 1 72 68 71 73 284
T10 ENG Lee Westwood -4 18 -2 72 72 70 70 284
18 CHN Hao-Tong Li -3 18 -2 73 70 72 70 285
T19 ESP Jorge Campillo -2 18 1 72 69 72 73 286
T19 DNK Soren Kjeldsen -2 18 -3 69 74 74 69 286
T19 ESP Adrian Otaegui -2 18 -2 73 69 74 70 286
T19 ENG Callum Shinkwin -2 18 -1 68 73 74 71 286
T23 ENG Richard Bland -1 18 1 70 74 70 73 287
T23 BEL Nicolas Colsaerts -1 18 Par 72 71 72 72 287
T23 FRA Raphael Jacquelin -1 18 -6 73 69 79 66 287
T23 FIN Mikko Korhonen -1 18 Par 72 73 70 72 287
T23 IRL Shane Lowry -1 18 -2 71 75 71 70 287
T23 RSA Jaco Van Zyl -1 18 3 68 72 72 75 287
T23 SCO Marc Warren -1 18 1 70 66 78 73 287
T23 ENG Danny Willett -1 18 5 65 71 74 77 287
T31 ENG Gary Boyd Par 18 2 72 73 69 74 288
T31 SWE Niclas Fasth Par 18 -4 70 73 77 68 288
T31 THA Thongchai Jaidee Par 18 Par 71 72 73 72 288
T31 ESP Pablo Larrazabal Par 18 2 74 70 70 74 288
T31 CHN Ashun Wu Par 18 -2 72 74 72 70 288
T36 CHL Felipe Aguilar 1 18 -2 71 71 77 70 289
T36 RSA Trevor Fisher Jr 1 18 1 73 73 70 73 289
T36 POR Ricardo Melo Gouveia 1 18 Par 75 71 71 72 289
T36 IRL Gavin Moynihan 1 18 -2 72 71 76 70 289
T36 IRL Kevin Phelan 1 18 -1 75 70 73 71 289
T36 AUS Brett Rumford 1 18 2 69 72 74 74 289
T36 FRA Romain Wattel 1 18 4 75 70 68 76 289
T43 ESP Alejandro Canizares 2 18 -1 73 72 74 71 290
T43 NIR Darren Clarke 2 18 Par 73 71 74 72 290
T43 SCO Stephen Gallacher 2 18 3 71 71 73 75 290
T43 FIN Roope Kakko 2 18 -4 71 73 78 68 290
T43 USA David Lipsky 2 18 1 72 71 74 73 290
T48 SWE Kristoffer Broberg 3 18 2 74 68 75 74 291
T48 ESP Nacho Elvira 3 18 3 70 75 71 75 291
T48 ENG Matt Ford 3 18 Par 72 74 73 72 291
T48 AUS Richard Green 3 18 Par 75 70 74 72 291
T48 SCO Craig Lee 3 18 1 73 73 72 73 291
T48 ENG Ross McGowan 3 18 -3 73 72 77 69 291
T54 ENG Ross Fisher 4 18 1 69 75 75 73 292
T54 ENG Oliver Fisher 4 18 5 73 71 71 77 292
T54 SCO Richie Ramsay 4 18 1 70 71 78 73 292
T54 ENG Chris Wood 4 18 2 71 70 77 74 292
T58 ITA Renato Paratore 7 18 -1 72 72 80 71 295
T58 AUT Bernd Wiesberger 7 18 Par 71 75 77 72 295
T60 IRL Paul Dunne 8 18 2 70 75 77 74 296
T60 IRL Gary Hurley 8 18 6 73 71 74 78 296
62 ESP Borja Virto 9 18 2 74 72 77 74 297
T63 ENG Robert Dinwiddie 10 18 3 72 72 79 75 298
T63 IRL Paul McGinley 10 18 3 72 71 80 75 298
65 NIR Graeme McDowell 11 18 8 71 72 76 80 299
CUT ENG Daniel Brooks 3 - Par 74 73 - - 147
CUT SWE Magnus A Carlsson 3 - Par 75 72 - - 147
CUT DNK Soren Hansen 3 - Par 75 72 - - 147
CUT FRA Thomas Linard 3 - Par 71 76 - - 147
CUT SWE David Lingmerth 3 - Par 77 70 - - 147
CUT BEL Thomas Pieters 3 - Par 74 73 - - 147
CUT ENG Lee Slattery 3 - Par 72 75 - - 147
CUT SWE Jeff Winther 3 - Par 73 74 - - 147
CUT ENG Matthew Baldwin 4 - Par 73 75 - - 148
CUT IRL Padraig Harrington 4 - Par 76 72 - - 148
CUT RSA Jean Hugo 4 - Par 73 75 - - 148
CUT IRL Peter Lawrie 4 - Par 73 75 - - 148
CUT KOR Soo-Min Lee 4 - Par 77 71 - - 148
CUT SCO Jamie McLeary 4 - Par 78 70 - - 148
CUT IRL Neil O'Briain 4 - Par 74 74 - - 148
CUT FRA Julien Quesne 4 - Par 73 75 - - 148
CUT ENG Steve Webster 4 - Par 74 74 - - 148
CUT SWE Johan Carlsson 5 - Par 76 73 - - 149
CUT RSA George Coetzee 5 - Par 72 77 - - 149
CUT ENG Matthew Fitzpatrick 5 - Par 74 75 - - 149
CUT ENG Tommy Fleetwood 5 - Par 73 76 - - 149
CUT AUS Marcus Fraser 5 - Par 73 76 - - 149
CUT FRA Benjamin Hebert 5 - Par 77 72 - - 149
CUT SWE Joakim Lagergren 5 - Par 74 75 - - 149
CUT ITA Matteo Manassero 5 - Par 75 74 - - 149
CUT IRL Colm Moriarty 5 - Par 77 72 - - 149
CUT RSA Hennie Otto 5 - Par 77 72 - - 149
CUT RSA Brandon Stone 5 - Par 75 74 - - 149
CUT KOR Y.E. Yang 5 - Par 73 76 - - 149
CUT SWE Bjorn Akesson 6 - Par 75 75 - - 150
CUT ESP Eduardo De La Riva 6 - Par 73 77 - - 150
CUT AUS Andrew Dodt 6 - Par 74 76 - - 150
CUT SCO David Drysdale 6 - Par 73 77 - - 150
CUT DNK Joachim B Hansen 6 - Par 74 76 - - 150
CUT ENG Andrew Johnston 6 - Par 75 75 - - 150
CUT THA Prom Meesawat 6 - Par 77 73 - - 150
CUT SWE Alexander Noren 6 - Par 77 73 - - 150
CUT ENG Robert Rock 6 - Par 77 73 - - 150
CUT ENG Andy Sullivan 6 - Par 75 75 - - 150
CUT WAL Stephen Dodd 7 - Par 77 74 - - 151
CUT SWE Pelle Edberg 7 - Par 78 73 - - 151
CUT FRA Edouard Espana 7 - Par 76 75 - - 151
CUT RSA Darren Fichardt 7 - Par 71 80 - - 151
CUT FRA Gregory Havret 7 - Par 74 77 - - 151
CUT AUS Scott Hend 7 - Par 76 75 - - 151
CUT ESP Miguel Angel Jimenez 7 - Par 77 74 - - 151
CUT SWE Robert Karlsson 7 - Par 75 76 - - 151
CUT SCO Paul Lawrie 7 - Par 72 79 - - 151
CUT IRL Ruaidhri McGee 7 - Par 75 76 - - 151
CUT FRA Gary Stal 7 - Par 74 77 - - 151
CUT ENG Graeme Storm 7 - Par 76 75 - - 151
CUT RSA Ulrich Van den Berg 7 - Par 75 76 - - 151
CUT KOR Jeung-hun Wang 7 - Par 75 76 - - 151
CUT DNK Lucas Bjerregaard 8 - Par 78 74 - - 152
CUT ENG Ben Evans 8 - Par 76 76 - - 152
CUT ENG Ryan Evans 8 - Par 74 78 - - 152
CUT AUS Nathan Holman 8 - Par 79 73 - - 152
CUT USA Daniel Im 8 - Par 72 80 - - 152
CUT SCO Andrew McArthur 8 - Par 76 76 - - 152
CUT ENG Chris Paisley 8 - Par 76 76 - - 152
CUT RSA Haydn Porteous 8 - Par 73 79 - - 152
CUT IND S.S.P. Chawrasia 9 - Par 73 80 - - 153
CUT WAL Rhys Davies 9 - Par 79 74 - - 153
CUT IRL Jack Hume 9 - Par 77 76 - - 153
CUT NIR Colm Campbell 10 - Par 75 79 - - 154
CUT FRA Victor Dubuisson 10 - Par 73 81 - - 154
CUT SWE Peter Hanson 10 - Par 76 78 - - 154
CUT IRL David Higgins 10 - Par 76 78 - - 154
CUT FIN Mikko Ilonen 10 - Par 77 77 - - 154
CUT DNK Morten Orum Madsen 10 - Par 75 79 - - 154
CUT NIR Damian Mooney 10 - Par 77 77 - - 154
CUT USA John Ross 10 - Par 78 76 - - 154
CUT ENG Oliver Wilson 10 - Par 74 80 - - 154
CUT NIR Michael Hoey 11 - Par 79 76 - - 155
CUT SCO Scott Jamieson 11 - Par 78 77 - - 155
CUT NED Joost Luiten 11 - Par 75 80 - - 155
CUT ESP Alvaro Quiros 11 - Par 77 78 - - 155
CUT PRY Fabrizio Zanotti 11 - Par 74 81 - - 155
CUT ENG Seve Benson 12 - Par 77 79 - - 156
CUT FRA Michael Lorenzo-Vera 12 - Par 75 81 - - 156
CUT DNK Thomas Bjorn 13 - Par 78 79 - - 157
CUT SWE Jens Fahbring 13 - Par 78 79 - - 157
CUT ENG Anthony Wall 13 - Par 76 81 - - 157
CUT ENG Simon Khan 15 - Par 76 83 - - 159
CUT KOR Jin Jeong 17 - Par 81 80 - - 161
CUT ARG Estanislao Goya 18 - Par 73 89 - - 162
CUT IRL Eamonn Brady 19 - Par 88 75 - - 163
CUT ENG James Busby 22 - Par 81 85 - - 166
CUT IRL Brendan McGovern 24 - Par 80 88 - - 168
RET GER Marcel Siem 9 - Par 81 - - 81
RET FRA Alexander Levy 3 - Par 75 - - 75

 





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