Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Rory: We gave ourselves too much to do

Europe's Rory McIlroy reacts after missing a birdie putt on the 16th hole (AP)

World number one Rory McIlroy reflected on a day of mixed fortunes after opening his Ryder Cup campaign in Chicago with a win and a loss.

McIlroy and partner Graeme McDowell held their nerve after a late fightback by Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker to score a point for Europe by winning by one hole in the morning foursomes at Medinah. It was a different story in the afternoon fourballs as the Northern Irish pair trailed throughout to Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley before going down 2&1 to the Americans.

McIlroy did hit a fine tee shot at the 17th as he pushed to secure a tie but Mickelson landed an even better one to around three feet of the flag and defeat was conceded. McIlroy said: "They got off to a very fast start, and at the end of the day we just gave ourselves a little bit too much to do. We started a little sluggishly."

He continued: "Obviously it was just a high to end this morning and then to try to get ourselves back for the afternoon, we just didn't start as well as we would have liked.

"We were trying to claw our way back, and we played some good stuff on the way in, but Keegan and Phil were just too strong this afternoon."

The pair's morning match was going smoothly as they opened a three-hole lead with six to play, only for Furyk and Snedeker to pull back to all square by the 16th.

But Snedeker then undid that good work by hitting his tee shot at the 18th into the hospitality area and, despite a disappointing drive by McIlroy, the European duo held on.

McIlroy, the 23-year-old winner of the USPGA Championship last month, said: "They came back at us really hard and we just hung in there, tried to get up and down on 17 and obviously a great up-and-down at the last.

"Conditions out there were not easy coming in, and I'm glad we hung on and did what we needed to do."