Published: Sun, January 15, 2017
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

Rory McIlroy makes strong start to South African Open

Rory McIlroy makes strong start to South African Open

The supporters had come out in their droves to watch Rory McIlroy and the world number two did not disappoint, but a niggling back injury could spell trouble.

At one stage during the second day, McIlroy trailed 38-year-old Englishman Storm by nine strokes, then played eight holes from the eighth in eight under.

Storm grabbed his chances on all four of the par-fives, and made his other birdie of the day on the par-four seventh - where McIlroy thrilled the crowd with a great nine-iron which pitched and spun back into the hole for eagle.

Home favourites Fisher Jnr and Horne both carded seven birdies against a single dropped shots in their rounds of 66, while McIlroy was joined in a share of third by South Africans Thomas Aiken, Dean Burmester and Jbe Kruger and England's Jordan L Smith.

His work on the greens showed that perhaps he wasn't feeling the squeeze as much as he says, with two birdies and an eagle to show for a good front nine, with only a bogey round the turn the solitary blemish on his card.

The 27 year old hit back in typical style though, nearly holing in one to pick up an easy birdie on the par three sixth before he cancelled out his other dropped shot with another birdie on the eighth to sign for a 67.

For his part the leader has shown plenty of determination this week after a freaky set of circumstances at the end of last season had him believing he had lost his card for the first time since 2005. "Then on 18 I was probably just rushing a bit to get in before the weather". I've hit a lot of golf balls over the three or four weeks testing equipment. "I'll just take it easy over the next few days and with some rest and treatment I should be fine".

"I am just really pleased that I kept the momentum from yesterday and played really nicely and holed some good putts", Storm told the European Tour's Official website. "I'm three shots behind the lead at the minute, but hopefully I can get off to a good start and put a bit of pressure on Graeme and make it interesting". "I hit 13 fewer putts in the second round‚" he said. "But I have a new lease on life after I thought that I had lost my card and all my privileges", Storm said on Saturday. It's my livelihood and I have a young family to support, so I can't afford to lose my job.

"I tip Rory to win this week because he hits it miles and he hits it straight".

Like this: