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GOLF > McIlroy misfires amid tricky conditions at Open

LYTHAM, England - Agence France-Presse

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Adam Scott

Adam Scott

Rory McIlroy misfired again at the British Open, nearly hitting a rival caddie June 20 as tricky conditions at Royal Lytham helped prevent an early second-round charge at leader Adam Scott.

World No. 2 McIlroy, the 2011 U.S. Open champion, began with two pars before putting his tee shot into the rough at the third hole. He then pulled his second shot left of the third green and into the adjacent fourth-hole tee box.

McIlroy’s errant approach near hit Toru Oda, the caddie of Japan’s Toshinori Muto, in the group ahead of McIlroy. A lucky break left the ball on flat ground with only a wisp of tall grass between him and the green below. The Northern Irish champion chipped his approach to eight feet but missed his par putt for bogey.

McIlroy answered with a 10-foot birdie at the fourth, where he was greeted by a pheasant in the fairway, but another bogey at the sixth left him one-over for the round and two-under for the tournament.

McIlroy’s wobbles came a day after he struck a teen spectator in the head with a shot. He wound up picking up the man’s hotel room for the night as well as delivering an autographed glove.

Overnight rain dumped nearly half an inch of water on the bunker-strewn links layout, creating soft and receptive greens that prompted organizers to use tougher pin placements and double mow the greens to make putts faster.

Add to that water puddling in several bunkers to force drops and an east wind forcing more adjustments in shot trajectory by players and it was easy to see why the early starters were struggling to make any major moves. Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts, who opened on 65, took bogeys at the second and third holes and a triple-bogey 8 at the seventh to plunge from the leaderboard.

July/21/2012

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