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Travelers Championship: Rory McIlroy upbeat as he stays in the fight for victory

 

By Brian Keogh

Rory McIlroy shrugged off a frustrating day on the greens and continued his quest to turn back the clock in his search for his ideal swing.

The Holywood star (29) had 32 putts, including two three-putts, in a one-under 69 that left him three shots behind clubhouse leader Brian Harman on seven-under in the Travelers Championship in Connecticut.

But he hopes to light up TPC River Highlands over the weekend and believes he's close to rediscovering some old swing feelings as The Open approaches.

Believing he just needs to be patient, he said: "I think with what I'm working on I'm not 100% comfortable and I'm still thinking a lot about what I'm doing. So it will probably be a few weeks before the consistency level is where I want it to be.

"But it's good that there's good signs. I'll keep working on it. I'll go to the range and practice, and hopefully it will be a little better."

Frustration could have set in, but he was pleased he remained patient, adding: "I felt like mentally I was pretty good. You sort of need to do that when you don't have your best stuff.

"If I just keep giving myself chances and hit a few more fairways over the weekend than I did today, hopefully, I'll be able to move."

He missed just one green and only three fairways in an opening 64 and put that down to spending last weekend working on his swing after an early exit at the US Open.

"You never want to miss a cut in a Major, but it might have been a blessing in disguise for the rest of the year," he said.

"I'm trying to get back to the way I swung in 2010, 2011. It's sort of hard because my body has changed quite a bit since then."

Left-hander Harman (31) made seven birdies in a four-under 66 to lead by two shots on 10-under par from Bryson DeChambeau (66) and Paul Casey (67).

But West Waterford's Seamus Power (31) also had a good day, carding five birdies in a 67 that moved him into the top half on three-under par.

It was another frustrating day for Jordan Spieth, however, less than 24 hours after his blistering 63 gave him a share of the overnight lead with Zach Johnson, who was among the afternoon starters with Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell.

The Texan (24) had a triple bogey eight after driving out of bounds and finding water at the 13th, his fourth hole, and needed a tap-in eagle at his 16th to salvage a three-over 73.

Blaming his course management for most of his mistakes, he felt he hit the ball better than he had on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Australian Scott Hend fired a sensational 67 in windy conditions to lead the BMW International Open by a stroke from Qualifying School graduates Nico Geyger of Chile and Sweden's Henric Sturehed on six-under.

Local favourite Martin Kaymer shot a 68 to lurk just two off the pace in fourth spot.

US Open runner-up Tommy Fleetwood squeaked over the cut line on four-over after a second successive 74, but The Island's Paul McBride missed the cut by three strokes after a 75.

On the Symetra Tour, Stephanie Meadow opened with a two-under 70 to trail Desiree Dubreuil and Meghan MacLaren by four in the Island Championship in Michi­gan where Leona Maguire was a late starter.

• GAVIN Moynihan made his first cut in a world ranking event for almost eight months at the SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge in Aviemore.

As Michael Hoey fired a five-under 66 to share ninth place, four shots behind Scotland's David Law on three-under par, Moynihan birdied three of his last 10 holes for a 69 to lie just a shot further back in 18th at MacDonald Spey Valley Golf Club, ending a miserable run.

Derry's Ruaidhri McGee was the only other Irish player to make the weekend, despite carding a 73 to slip to two-over.

On the PGA Europro Tour, Donegal's Brendan McCarroll was beaten by England's Mark Young in a play-off for the Jessie May World Snooker Championship at Clevedon Golf Club, picking up (£6,000) €6,823.

The 2006 East of Ireland winner (32) double-bogeyed the 16th and bogeyed the 17th, carding a three-under 69 to tie with Young on 11-under before losing out at the first extra hole.

Meanwhile, Seapoint's Dylan Keating (16) carded a final round 70 to overcome a four-shot deficit and win the Irish Boys U16 Championship at Castle Dargan.

A nephew of singer Ronan Keating, he finished on one-under 215, three shots ahead of Josh Black from Lisburn.

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