Belfast Telegraph

I'll be fighting fit for Walker Cup vows Mac

By Peter Hutcheon

Rory McIlroy didn't fire a shot in anger when he met up with his Walker Cup teammates at Royal County Down - but today insisted he would be fighting fit by next week.

A back injury forced McIlroy to miss the two practise sessions organised by the Royal and Ancient yesterday in preparation for next month's match against the Americans.

All ten Great Britain and Ireland players plus the two reserves were in Northern Ireland for two practise rounds, one in the morning and again in the afternoon, and they continued their planned programme of familiarisation with the tough links course.

Local knowledge could give the home side a vital advantage when it comes to the two-day competition on September 8 and 9.

Naturally missing a practise round will not do McIlroy all that much harm as he is more than familiar with the set-up at Royal County Down having played it countless times over the years.

It is far more important for him to be 100pc fit for the competition and yesterday he insisted he would be fine by next week.

"It is a matter of rest and exercises and hopefully it will be all right by the end of the week," he said.

"I was playing in Donegal at the weekend and in the practice round on Friday I was trying to play a ball out of the rough.

"As soon as I hit it I felt something go in my back and went to the physio.

"I have sprained one of the joints that holds the last two vertebrae in my back.

"To play it at home in front of my friends and family is going to be special for m," he added.

"But it is going to be great for everyone in the team."

Meanwhile 12-year-old Lisa Maguire flies the flag for Ireland today in the last 16 of the Girls British Open at Southerndown in South Wales.

She takes on Royal Birkdale's English international Florentyne Parker after recording two excellent victories yesterday.

Stephanie Meadow of Royal Portrush lost in the first round, beaten three and two by Spain's Ana Fernadez de Mesa.

Both Irish challengers in the Boys Amateur Championship at Royal Porthcawl fell by the wayside yesterday.

Ronan Burke of Castle lost to Denmark's Nicolai Aagoard on the final green in his match while Mallow's Ciaran McKenna lost out six and five to Finland's Henri Pykola.

Ulster's challenge in the Interprovincial challenge is also over as they lost 8-5 to Connacht at Baltray yesterday.


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