| 13.1°C Belfast

'I've been going through the motions': Rory McIlroy struggling for inspiration as PGA Tour continues without supporters



Off pace: Rory McIlroy plays his shot from the ninth tee during the final round of The Northern Trust, where he failed to trouble the leaders

Off pace: Rory McIlroy plays his shot from the ninth tee during the final round of The Northern Trust, where he failed to trouble the leaders

Getty Images

Champion: Nathan Kernaghan with his trophy

Champion: Nathan Kernaghan with his trophy

Off pace: Rory McIlroy plays his shot from the ninth tee during the final round of The Northern Trust, where he failed to trouble the leaders

World No 3 Rory McIlroy admits he feels like he's "going through the motions" after putting in another flat PGA Tour performance in the Northern Trust at TPC Boston.

Struggling with his driver, the Co Down man mixed 19 birdies with 11 bogeys and two triple bogeys, closing with a 69 that left him near the back of the field on two under.

Fellow Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell said earlier in the week that he needed the "drug" of a US Open or Ryder Cup as playing behind closed doors left him feeling like "a golfing zombie". McIlroy agreed, joking: "I need all the drugs!"

"Yeah, this is going to sound really bad, but I feel like the last few weeks, I've just been going through the motions," said McIlroy, who has managed just one top-20 in six post-lockdown events after clinching a win and five top-fives in his previous six.

"I want to get an intensity and some sort of fire, but I just haven't been able to. And look, that's partly to do with the atmosphere and partly to do with how I'm playing.

"I'm not inspiring myself and I'm trying to get inspiration from outside sources to get something going. I can definitely see where Graeme is coming from there."

France's Romain Langasque overturned a five-shot deficit to win his first European Tour title and secure a US Open debut at the ISPS Handa Wales Open.

Langasque carded six birdies in a flawless closing 65 at Celtic Manor to finish eight under par and two shots ahead of Finland's Sami Valimaki, with England's David Dixon and Matthew Jordan a shot further back.

Langasque said: "I was playing really good since the start of the week and was only focusing on my own thing, and I'm so happy the way I played the back nine.

"I had so many birdie opportunities and the second shot on 16 and the tee shot on 17 were my two best shots of the week.

"It's one of the first times I didn't really feel the pressure because I was really focused on every shot and the first I felt pressure was the wedge to 18 because I was looking to have a longer shot.

"It was not easy because I was too close and the two-putt was under pressure, but before that I was really cool."

Massereene's Nathan Kernaghan battled testing weather conditions to claim the rain-affected Nuremore Irish PGA Assistant's Championship title.

In doing so the 21-year-old added his name to a list of former winners that includes David Feherty, Damien McGrane, Simon Thornton and Michael McGeady.

"I brought one of the club's Senior Cup men, Ryan McCullough, with me to the pro-am because I wanted to see how he would play the course," said Nathan.

"I have played in this event for a couple of years and made a bit of a mess of it to be honest. I wanted to see how he would play and how he would navigate it. I got plenty of tips out of him and the odd slap on the wrist for hitting the driver at certain holes."

Kernaghan posted opening rounds of 70/73 (-1) to lead by four at the close of play on day one.

Torrential overnight rain at the Co Monaghan venue forced tournament officials to reduce round three to 16 holes and Kernaghan extended his lead to five shots.

When further rain made fourth-round play impossible, Kernaghan was crowned champion with James McVicker finishing in second place.

"The conditions for the morning round on day one weren't too bad. I got the best of the weather and I knew that I had to take advantage because the conditions in the afternoon were going to be very tough," said Kernaghan.

"Once we got to holes 11 and 12 it started to get pretty scruffy. Like everyone else, I was just trying to crawl over the line and get into the clubhouse without causing any real damage to my score.

"When the third round was reduced to 16 holes I saw that as a positive. It played into my hands even more because there were fewer holes for people to try and catch me."

Kernaghan has recently finished his training and hopes to embark on a teaching career once qualified.

"I left school early to go down this route," he added.

"This win will hopefully give me a bit of impetus to get out and compete a bit more. I'm already looking forward to the Irish Championship at the end of the month."

Belfast Telegraph