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Latest setback means Rory McIlroy could miss out on FedEx finale

 

By Liam Kelly

Rory McIlroy is running out of time to salvage an injury-disrupted, and at times controversial, 2017. McIlroy fancied his chances of a tilt at the Dell Technologies Championship at TPC Boston, a tournament he won last year en route to adding a dramatic Tour Championship victory and claiming the FedEx Cup title.

But a shock missed cut on Saturday - the tournament finishes today on Labour Day weekend - was the latest setback for the world number four.

His opening 72, one-over par, included a horrible four-putt on the par-3 11th hole, and a Saturday 74 meant he missed the cut by a shot.

McIlroy and his team have a comprehensive plan for full rehab of the rib injury which has disrupted his year, and for a revitalising of his golf game.

That was due to come into effect after the FedEx Cup series finale for the top 30 in the rankings at East Lake from September 21-24.

McIlroy's problem is that he may not make it to East Lake unless he produces top form in the BMW Championship and improves from his projected 51st place to 30th or better.

He had hoped to make a strong challenge for victory at the Dell Technologies, the BMW, or the Tour Championship before taking a break, with the Dunhill Links Championship (October 5-8) his last appearance of the year.

"I haven't not won a tournament since the 2008 season, which was my real rookie season on the European Tour.

"Even in 2013 when I struggled, I went down to Australia at the end of the year and I won and it made the end of the year feel pretty good.

"I'd like to have that feeling again before taking that time off at the end of this year and getting myself right for 2018," he said.

The four-time major champion is expected to wait until he knows his fate after the BMW Championship before making any tweaks to his plans, but he is very clear about the big picture in the coming months after the Dunhill Links.

"I'll put the clubs away for five or six weeks, have two weeks where I shut it down and do nothing after the Dunhill Links.

"I'll then start to rehab, start to get my body in better shape, get everything healthy, and then start to hit balls maybe the end of November, and then work on some technical stuff November, December.

"And then when we get to January, hit the ground running and hopefully have an injury-free, stress-free, very successful year," he said.

That would be welcome after a season of rib problems, equipment changes forced by Nike's exit from club manufacturing, and the recent parting company with long-serving caddie JP Fitzgerald.

Meanwhile, Justin Thomas and Marc Leishman are leading the way in Boston after respective rounds of 63 and 65 took them to 12-under par ahead of today's finale.

Just one shot behind, however, is Englishman Paul Casey, who added a third-round 67 to his opening scores of 70 and 65.

Jordan Spieth, Grayson Murray and Adam Hadwin are well placed on 10 under.

Elsewhere, South Africa's Haydn Porteous overturned a two-shot deficit in the final round to win his second European Tour title in the D+D Real Czech Masters.

Porteous carded a closing 69 at Albatross Golf Resort to finish 13-under par and two shots clear of England's Lee Slattery, with Tom Lewis and Sweden's Pontus Widegren a shot further back.

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