Rory McIlroy’s shaking up field as tremor hits
Rory McIlroy has produced some earth-shattering displays in his relatively short professional career but nothing quite prepared him for an earthquake tremor while standing over a tee shot late on day two of the UBS Hong Kong Open.
McIlroy was on the 14th tee when the after effects of a mild 2.8 Richter Scale tremor rocked the suburban Fanling course.
Those in the clubhouse believed a large truck had crashed into the building.
McIlroy was involved at the time in a great tussle with Ryder Cup winning colleague, and playing partner, Ian Poulter.
“My legs just started shaking like jelly over my tee shot,” said McIlroy.
“It was really scary and at first everyone wondered what was going on. I’ve never felt anything like that before, and not looking forward to being around if something like that happens again.”
Poulter had already teed-off on route to an eventual 10-under par 60 and a one stroke lead at 13-under, and was bending down to get something from his golf bag when the tremor hit.
“It was strange as the ground shook slightly for no more than a second, and just as was about to pick my ball up,” said Poulter.
An Indian-born player competing in the co-sanctioned event later remarked his golf ball was shaken off its tee while there was others, such as former British
Open champion, Paul Lawrie who indicated the ground had not moved for him.
The epicentre of the tremor was traced to Shenzhen, just 10 miles away in mainland China, and while it will be noted in record books, Poulter’s score will not be credited as a new course record as a ‘preferred lie’ rule was still in effect.
McIlroy signed for a 66 to be tied in second place with England’s Simon Dyson (65) and a stroke behind Korean-born American, Anthony Kang (61).
Six players — Italy’s Matteo Manassero (63), India’s Jeev Milkha Singh (67), Graeme McDowell (65), Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee (64) and Paraguay’s Fabrizio Zanotti (67) — are tied in fifth place at 10-under par.
Michael Hoey benefited from a 30-minute pre-round back massage to shoot a 65 and move to seven under par and one fewer than Ballyclare’s Gareth Maybin (67).
Darren Clarke sought out the Tournament Director after his round to have two signs moved close the front of the nine green.
Clarke’s second shot into his last hole ricocheted off a ‘UPS — We Love Logistics’ sign but the Ulsterman was certainly far from in love with the sign as he watched his ball stop short of a hazard.
Clarke immediately sought out Tournament Director, Mikael Ericsson to have the signs moved further back off the fairway.
Portrush’s newest resident capped his round by chipping-in from 20-yards for birdie at his third hole and then also did the same for eagle at the next before dropping a shot at 18 in a score of 64 for a four-under par tally.