x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

British Open: McIlroy steadies ship after early struggles on final day

Rory McIlroy struggled to move up the leaderboard as the final day's play at Royal Lytham got underway.

Rory McIlroy tees off at Royal Lytham on the final day of the British Open
Rory McIlroy tees off at Royal Lytham on the final day of the British Open

LANCASHIRE, UK // A WEEK which started with high hopes was ending on a low note for Rory McIlroy in the final round of the British Open Championship at Royal Lytham.

McIlroy found himself in a share of fifth place after an opening-round of 67 on Thursday, despite running up a double bogey on the 15th when his drive bounced off a young spectator's head and ended up out of bounds.

However, a second round of 75 saw the world number two only make the halfway cut by one shot on two over par, while he then added a 73 in perfect conditions on Saturday.

That meant another early start this morning for the former US Open champion, but any hopes of a late charge up the leaderboard before the forecast strong winds arrived were soon dashed.

After a par on the first - Lytham is the only course on the Open rotation which begins with a par three - McIlroy bogeyed the second, ran up a double bogey six on the third and then dropped another shot on the fourth.

At nine over par, the 23-year-old was now 20 shots off the lead held by Australian Adam Scott, who was due out at 2:30pm alongside McIlroy's fellow Ulsterman Graeme McDowell.

McIlroy steadied the ship with four pars to be out in 38, but Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter were showing that far better scoring was still possible.

World number three Westwood had started with a run of par, birdie, birdie to improve to two over, while Poulter had eagled the par-four second to lie one over.

McDowell shares second place with halfway leader Brandt Snedeker on seven under par, four shots behind Scott, with Tiger Woods another shot back in fourth.

After three days of calm conditions, strong winds are forecast with gusts of 25 to 30mph expected to develop, with isolated gusts of 35mph possible after 3pm.

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