2021-02-21 17:44:29 | Matt Fitzpatrick moves himself into contention going into Genesis Invitation final round


Story by: James Corrigan The Telegraph

Nobody should be surprised, however, if Augusta proves to be Woods’ first appearance of the year. He did the same in 2010 in the wake of his sex scandal and still managed to finish fourth. Woods will not rush this latest comeback, but is convinced that he can come back better and stronger than in 2020 – which was basically a write-off – and if he is remotely in form by September, then Stricker would almost certainly hand him one of his six wild cards.

The last time the US played in a team matchplay event was the 2019 Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne 15 months ago and Woods more than proved his worth to the flag by not only captaining America to a 16-14 victory but also winning all three of his games as a player. As Harrington pointed out, Woods seems a different team animal these days.

While Harrington remains assured of Woods’s excellence, he bizarrely singled out Rory McIlroy as the one member of his prospective team he would not pick to hole the definitive 10-footer with the Ryder Cup on the line.

“It wouldn’t be you, Rory, sorry,” Harrington told golf.com, before going on to name the young Spaniard Jon Rahm. To be fair, McIlroy’s putting in the first two rounds of the Genesis Open in Los Angeles was woeful as he missed his first cut in almost two years. In his absence, American Sam Burns took a five-shot halfway lead, over a group in second including world No 1 Dustin Johnson. 

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Play was suspended at Riviera Country Club in the third round for more than four hours when the winds whipped up so strongly that Keegan Bradley took a 59-foot putt for birdie – and ended up with a 44-yard pitch for par. 

When play resumed, Burns saw his lead cut to four after three holes by Jordan Spieth, the resurgent world No 1, looking for his first win in almost four years, and Tyler McCumber. England’s Matt Fiztpatrick had played six and was five off the pace. 

Genesis Open Leaderboard: Top 10 after round 2 (third round to finish on Sunday)

USA unless stated
1. S Burns -12
T2. D Johnson -7
T2. J Niemann (Chile) -7
T2. T McCumber -7
T2. J Kokrak -7
T6. W Clark -6
T6. M Homa -6
T6. J Spieth -6
T9. P Cantlay -5
T9. M Fitzpatrick (England) -5

Genesis Open round two: McIlroy misses the cut

Rory McIlroy’s Masters build-up suffered a setback in Los Angeles where his record streak ended with a first missed cut in almost two years.

The Irishman never looked like qualifying for the final two rounds of the Genesis Open, as he struggled to a 76 for a desultory seven-over total. McIlroy, 31, was miles off the mark, leaving a tournament prematurely for the first time since the 2019 Open at Royal Portrush. 

Up until this demise, McIlroy’s 30 consecutive weekends had been the longest active run on the two main men’s tours.

The consolation for falling short so emphatically was that McIlroy did not have to wait around and could immediately exit the gates at Riviera Country Club on to Sunset Boulevard and to the airport for a private jet back to his Florida home.

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McIlroy will be deeply frustrated, however. After finishing third in his opening event of the year – the Abu Dhabi Championship – he was confident that he had left behind the mediocre form that has dogged him since the golf resumed from the lockdown last June. 

This error-strewn display – featuring eight bogeys and a double-bogey in his 36 holes – came on the back on a tie for 13th and a tie for 16th in his first two PGA Tour events of 2021, and although it is hardly panic stations, McIlroy will be eager to put himself back on track at the WGC Workday Championship, a three-hour drive west of his Jupiter base, that starts on Thursday.

McIlroy is also due to play in the following week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando and then, in the final week of the “Florida Swing”, at The Players Championship, where he will attempt to become the first player in history to retain the Tour’s flagship title. With the World Match Play in Austin also to come, McIlroy has plenty of competitive action to fix the wrongs, before arriving at Augusta in seven weeks’ time for yet another shot at completing the career grand slam.

McIlroy’s tournament was essentially over when he stepped on to the par-four eighth, his penultimate hole, and, by then, he was likely figuring out his travel schedule. But the six on the par-four summed up what must be classed as his worst show in a long time. 

He pulled his drive, but only had 90 yards to the pin. From an iffy lie, he came up short of the green.  McIlroy “fatted” his third and saw it roll back down the hill. He chipped to eight feet with his fourth but could not rescue a bogey. Sloppy in the extreme.

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At the other end of the leaderboard, the first-round leader, American Sam Burns, shot a 66 to move to 12-under and into a five-shot lead over a group in second including world No 1 Dustin Johnson. 

And having finished fourth and third in the previous two weeks, Jordan Spieth is threatening another charge for his first title in almost four years carding a second successive 68 to move to six-under.


Story continues…

Source References: The Telegraph

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