McIlroy’s Lofty Stature Struggles To Adjust To Swiss Alpine Course

Despite his lofty stature Rory McIlroy struggled at altitude in posting a ‘no frills’ 67 on the opening day of the Omega European Masters at Crans-Montana.

McIlroy’s return to the Alpine course in eight years was a mix of six birdies but also half as many bogeys.

The effort left the World No. 2 trailing four shots behind the leading duo of Frenchman Mike Lorenzo-Vera and Austrian Matthias Schwab who signed for seven-under par 63s.

Lorenzo-Vera, 34 was one-over through six holes and completed his closing dozen holes in eight-under par.

McIlroy was out in the sixth group of the day from the downhill 10th tee and he got the start he sought in walking off with a birdie ‘3’ but only to give the shot back at the next.


McIlroy then raced to three-under with birdies at his fifth and sixth holes, before holing a 15-footer at the 18th on the card or the ninth of his round.

Eleven years ago, McIlroy had missed a five-footer on the 18th that would have won him then a first pro-career victory.

Any hope of McIlroy climbing higher up the Swiss board failed to materialise over his inward half with the four-time Major winner left on the lower slopes with back-to-back birdies at his 15th and 16th holes sandwiched among bogeys at 14 and 17.

“It was nice to play my front nine which was the back nine of the course in three-under, so that felt good but then I made a couple of bogeys on my inward nine”, he said.

“The golf I played today was so different to what I have been playing these past few weeks, so I have been trying to adjust and get use to the greens here and how far the ball in going.

“So, overall I felt I did okay.”

McIlroy has now completed 13 rounds of the Seve Ballesteros redesigned Swiss course and averaging 67.5 per round.

A first victory in Switzerland and a second success next month in the Tour’s flagship BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth would also send McIlroy back to World No. 1.

If so, it would be a first occasion since August 2015 McIlroy has stood at the summit of the World Rankings.

“I feel like when I’m playing my best, I’m the best player in the world, so I would like to get back there as it’s been a goal of mine for a while,” he said.

“I haven’t experienced that summit for the last four years. I feel like with the work that I’m putting in and the consistent golf that I’m playing, hopefully it’s only a matter of time.”

European Ryder Cup captain, Padraig Harrington superbly capped his round in holing a bunker shot for an eagle ‘3’ at the par-4 14th to move to two-under par.

Though the Dubliner, who turns 48 tomorrow (SAT), had nothing to celebrate in bogeying the 16th and then finding the water guarding the green at 18 to finish with a double-bogey ‘6’ in a round of a one-over par 71.

And there is still little joy for struggling Paul Dunne in posting a bogey-littered three-over par 73 and a similar score at Gavin Moynihan.


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