McIlroy through to Spanish stage
Rory McIlroy has comfortably made it through to the second stage of the European Tour's Q-School.
The Holywood teenager had a closing level par 72 in the fourth and final round of the first qualifying stage at the Oxfordshire yesterday to finish in a tie for 13th place.
With the top 29 plus tied players making it through to Spain for November's second stage, he had a wobble on the fifth when he slipped back to within one of the likely qualifying mark of four under when he lost a ball in the rough.
But he banished all negative thoughts when he reached the par five 11th in two and then sank an eagle putt and had two more birdies on his way home.
And he could afford to play the last, his last as an amateur, with another dropped shot to finish on four under.
Also through in a tie for 18th place is Belfast's Damian Mooney after he too closed with a 72, and McIlroy's Walker Cup partner Scot, Lloyd Saltman who finished tied for seventh.
Former US Amateur champion Richie Ramsay from Scotland was among those to miss out.
The second stage will naturally be a tougher test as those players currently on tour but who lose their cards by finishing outside the top 118 on the order of merit on the current European Tour, come in at that stage, amongst others.
McIlroy was concise and to the point when he came off the course. "Job done," he said.
"I came here to make sure of my place in Spain and that's what I did."
McIlroy will turn professional at the Belfry on Tuesday and he plays his first event amongst the paid ranks there, the British Masters which starts on Thursday.
FOR the first time since 1998 the United States lead Europe after the first day of the Solheim Cup - but not by anything like the margin they had hoped for at Halmstad in Sweden.
After taking the opening foursomes 2 1/2-1 1/2 the holders led in all four afternoon fourballs, but in the cold, wind, rain and fading light they ended up only sharing them for a 4 1/2-3 1/2 advantage.