Rory McIlroy eight shots off lead at Northern Trust

Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy is eight shots off the lead after an even-par opening 71 at the Northern Trust.

By Sports Desk
Friday, 20th August 2021, 11:26 am

McIlroy hit five birdies and five bogeys to leave him in a share of 52nd spot.

Spain’s Jon Rahm, the world number one, and Justin Thomas lead after shooting 63s.

In the Czech Masters, Padraig Harrington is three shots off the lead.

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy.

Henrik Stenson made the most of his opportunity to impress Ryder Cup captain Harrington by claiming a share of the lead.

Playing alongside Harrington at Albatross Golf Resort, Stenson carded an eagle and three birdies in a bogey-free 67 to join Australia’s Maverick Antcliff on top of the leaderboard.

The former Open champion has played in the Ryder Cup five times and won all three of his matches as a wild card in Paris in 2018, but began the week 36th on the European points list after missing 11 cuts in 16 events in 2021 to fall outside the world’s top 200.

“I’m very happy with the score,” Stenson said. “There were a couple of swings I’m not overly happy with. I’ve been working hard on the swing, I need to keep on working hard

“I still managed to miss in the right places and kept it tidy around the greens and the putter was working fine today. Commitment can be a little better and confidence can definitely be a little bit better.

“On nine I hit a really good drive and it left me all of a three wood left. That was one of the best three woods I’ve hit for years and years. I hit a really good one in the pro-am as well, so it was copy and paste and it’s nice to have a three-footer for eagle.”

The nine automatic qualifiers will be decided after the final qualifying event, the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth on September 12, with Harrington naming his three wild cards the following day.

The three-time major winner carded three birdies and one bogey in an opening 70.