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McIlroy makes good start in Johannesburg


Rory McIlroy. AFP PHOTO / Jim Watson

Rory McIlroy. AFP PHOTO / Jim Watson

World number two Rory McIlroy posted a five-under-par 67 in his first competitive round of 2017 at the South Africa Open in Johannesburg.It left him one shot behind clubhouse leader Trevor Fisher with other players still to complete their rounds.

Mark Foster finished his round on four under, a shot better than fellow Englishmen Simon Dyson, Daniel Brooks and Chris Hanson.Nick Faldo, Ernie Els, and Darren Clarke are among the field.

Former Ryder Cup captain Clarke shot a 70 to lie on two under par.South Africans Dean Burmester and Thomas Aiken are alongside Northern Irishman McIlroy on five under par.


Meanwhile, it has been a nightmare for players competing at the Bahamas Great Exuma Classic Tour event at Sandals Emerald Bay.They have had to endure winds reaching 40mph, which have wreaked havoc upon scoring.

With par set at 72, the cut line sits at 11 over, a new record on the Tour after there were only three scores in the 60s and five in the 90s from the first two rounds.The Tour tweeted footage of Ken Looper lining up a putt with his trousers billowing in the wind before his hat was blown off his head.

He managed to recover it and holed out to save par – a crucial shot considering he only just made the cut with his score of +11.“I thought the cut was going to go higher,’ Looper said. “I tightened it (the hat) up nice and tight so it never blew off again. It was lucky it caught a bush because it was [going] off in the ocean, it was gone.”

Robert Allenby, arguably the most recognisable name in the field, failed to make the cut with his scorecard reading +13. But Allenby’s travails were nothing compared to Greg Eason, who claimed to lose 32 balls in the wind as he carded two rounds of 91 and 95. 

The tournament started on Sunday and the second round didn’t end until Tuesday. Its finish was scheduled for Wednesday but that is now likely to be Thursday.Nicholas Thompson currently leads the tournament after somehow getting through in 67 in his second round. He is -2 for the tournament and leads by two.

“I live in south Flordia, it blows down there,’ Thompson said. ‘I’ve got a lot of practice in it. “You get out on the back nine and it’s breathtaking views but you are just exposed the whole way around. You’re getting hit by the overspray from the ocean when the waves crash and the wind out there can make you look really silly.

“There is nothing easy about it. You’ve just got to accept the fact you’ll hit some good shots that don’t turn out good. It affects everything, it’s incredible.” 

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Rory McIlroy
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