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McIlroy back into contention for FedEx Cup after poor start

By Phil Casey

Published 24/09/2016

Closing in: Rory McIlroy is two shots off the leader, Dustin Johnson
Closing in: Rory McIlroy is two shots off the leader, Dustin Johnson

Rory McIlroy has work to do if he wants to win the FedEx Cup title and £7.5m payday.

Dustin Johnson is leading the charge at the Tour Championship on seven under par, one shot clear of fellow American Kevin Chappell.

McIlroy is five shots adrift of Johnson on two under par.

He made a poor start with four bogeys and one birdie in the first eight holes, but the four-time major winner responded with birdies on the 10th and 12th to remain in contention for a third win of the season.

The Holywood ace, however, needs to produce some magical golf over the weekend.

McIlroy can only claim the big money prize if he wins the tournment and Johnson finishes outside the top two.

World number one Jason Day was forced to withdraw through injury.

Day pulled out of the BMW Championship after eight holes of the final round a fortnight ago and lasted only eight holes of his second round in Atlanta before withdrawing with an ongoing back injury.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Caldwell finally landed his first HotelPlanner.com PGA EuroPro Tour title, taking home the Clipper Logistics Championship at Moor Allerton with three birdies in his last four holes.

Caldwell (Clandeyboye; 70, 64, 69) has finished inside the top five on eight occasions in five years on the tour, but beat Kevin Harper (East Devon Golf Club; 69, 69, 66) holing a nervy short putt for the title in Leeds.

It lifts him inside the Race To Desert Springs top five, a position which is rewarded with a 2017 Challenge Tour card for those in that position at the end of the season.

Curtis Griffiths (Wentworth; 68, 70, 68) consolidated his position in second on the tour rankings with a third-place finish on seven under par.

"It feels great," said Caldwell, who takes home £10,000 along with a brand new Motocaddy S1 Lithium trolley, Bushnell Tour X Range Finder and Bolle Sunglasses.

"It has been a long time coming after a few near misses, so it feels special."

Colm Moriarty leads the way on six under par after two rounds of the 106th Irish PGA Championship at Moyvalley Hotel and Golf Resort.

With gusting winds making play difficult, particularly for the afternoon starters, Moriarty's four under par 68 gave him a one shot lead over Damien McGrane, Eamonn Brady (Clontarf GC) and Simon Thornton.

The lowest score of the day came McGrane who prospered in the calmer early morning conditions, carding a six under par 66.

"I played alright yesterday [Thursday] but I couldn't really get going with the birdies," said McGrane who carded an opening round 73.

"One over was not a disaster. I'm pleased to bounce back today and finish the day on five under.

"The wind was getting very strong as we were finishing.

"I hit a seven iron from 122 yards into the 18th green," he added.

Belfast Telegraph

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