17 June, 2011

Can Ireland's Rory hold on after Masters meltdown?

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CONGRESSIONAL GOLF CLUB: seven US Presidents have been members
Rory McIlroy has become the first golfer to reach 13 under par at the U.S. Open.  At the notoriously treachorous Congressional Golf & Country Club, the young Northern Ireland man has surged TEN strokes clear of the field and looks to be a dead cert to lift the Wannamaker Trophy come Sunday evening.  McIlroy has completed the biggest half way lead at a US Open and until Friday's final hole, had not dropped a stroke along the way.  McIlroy unfortunately hit a double bogey six on Friday's final hole but still finished on 11 under par with an eight stroke lead on the chasing pack.
Defending champion Graeme McDowell stated on Wednesday;  "We'll start the tournament on level par and anything near that will be very close to winning the tournament come Sunday evening."

NO REPEAT PLEASE: Rory during his US Masters meltdown
"Rory is a great lad and a great player.  After the Masters, he deserves to win this weekend," - former World #2 Sergio Garcia

The previous 36 hole lead at a US Open was six strokes; held by Tiger Woods when he went on to stroll to a 15 stroke lead at Pebble Beach in 2000 as the first leg of his  "Tiger Slam."

Rory McIlroy celebrates another birdie at Congressional
"For 35 holes; Rory was in a league of his own," - Butch Harmon

I don't usually write an article at this stage of a tournament, I prefer to either preview events, or summarise them afterwards.  However, McIlroy's story at this US Open is so amazing, that it merits comment; when one considers the 22 year-old's collapse at the US Masters only 10 weeks ago.  I for one, thought that the mental scars suffered from throwing away a final round four stroke lead would take at least 12 months, if not considerably longer to recover from and that it would be at least four or five Majors time before the Portrush native would be at the business end of a top golf tournament.  McIlroy has however proved this critic wrong and one wonders can he hold on until the 72nd hole this time?  When considering the magnanimity and graciousness the young man dealt with his Masters meltdown, this observer sincerely hopes that he does just that.

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