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McIlroy’s star keeps on rising

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland tees of the 4th hole in his match against Geoff Ogilvy of Australia during the quarter-final round of the Accenture Match Play Championships at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club at Dove Mountain on February 28, 2009 in Marana, Arizona
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland tees of the 4th hole in his match against Geoff Ogilvy of Australia during the quarter-final round of the Accenture Match Play Championships at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club at Dove Mountain on February 28, 2009 in Marana, Arizona

Not even a fully fit and match-sharp Tiger Woods could have lived with Geoff Ogilvy, the man who conquered Rory McIlroy at the Accenture matchplay.

There was certainly no disgrace in his two and one quarter-final defeat on Saturday and the Australian had to play out of his skin to finally kill the Ulster teenager off.

His peers were queuing up to heap praise on the 19-year-old after his exit.

"He's a very impressive golfer," Ogilvy said. "It's feasible that he's going to be top two or three in the world within a year.

"I mean he's that good. Physically, he's got the whole package, but there's other kids out there that have got the whole package, but his demeanour is fantastic.

"I think that the more he plays, the more different sorts of golf courses he plays, he's just going to add more and more dimensions to his game and this will be the worst ranking he's got for the next 10 years, what it is now.

"It's only going to go up because he's very impressive."

Finalist Paul Casey said: "I think Rory's performance this week has been phenomenal for his first time in the United States.

"He's a class act. He's an unbelievable player and I'm just very jealous of him."

It is a measure of just how far the Holywood player has come that even on the week that Tiger Woods made his long-awaited comeback, Rory was the biggest story in town.

And the interest in him in America will only grow over the next fortnight when he plays this week at the Honda Classic in Florida then goes onto the second world golf championship of the year, the CA Championship at Doral as the build-up to next month’s Masters continues.

The sponsors of the Northern Trust Open, played the previous week, must be kicking themselves that they turned down a request from McIlroy for a place in the field.

Ogilvy had to hole two consecutive birdie putts of over 20 feet to win his quarter-final over McIlroy on Saturday.

Standing on the 17th tee McIlroy was two down needing to win both remaining holes to force the match into extra holes.

And he gave it absolutely everything, hitting a monster drive right down the middle to leave himself no more than a nine iron in, which he dispatched with aplomb, leaving a birdie putt inside 10 feet.

But he could do nothing but watch as Ogilvy rolled in his birdie putt to round of an exhilarating match.

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Michael Hoey produced a five under final round 67 to claim a share of 22nd place at the Indonesian Open yesterday.

The Belfast player finished on four under par, eight shots behind winner Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee who won by two from Englishman Simon Dyson.

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