Rory McIlroy (L) and Ryan Fox stroll a fairway collectively for the primary time. Photograph / Getty
Ryan Fox has made a disappointing begin within the season-ending DP World Tour Championship regardless of having fun with his first ever spherical with world primary Rory McIlroy.
Fox, who might declare the Race to Dubai title with a win this weekend, struggled to make traction on the Jumeirah Golf Estates course, firing three bogeys and simply two birdies to depart him tied for thirty third within the 50-man discipline
Posting on his social media channels after the spherical, Fox admitted he discovered it laborious to seek out kind alongside the world’s greatest golfer.
“A bit scratchy on the market in the present day however loved enjoying with Rory McIlroy for the primary time. An actual gentleman and a heck of a golfer. 3 extra days for me to seek out some kind however was a enjoyable strategy to begin the week,” Fox posted.
McIlroy leads the Race to Dubai standings as he bids to be the European tour’s main participant for the fourth time in his profession, however wanted a birdie on the 18th simply to get below par with a 71 that tied him for twenty second.
On the head of the sphere sat US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick, whose quick begin helped additionally him transfer out in entrance within the Race to Dubai standings.
Fitzpatrick birdied his first 5 holes and completed with a bogey-free 7-under 65 for his lowest spherical on the Earth Course, the place he’s a two-time winner.
Fitzpatrick was tied for the lead with Tyrrell Hatton, who went on a run of 4 straight birdies from the thirteenth gap however completed together with his lone bogey on the par-5 18th.
Fitzpatrick would clinch a primary Race to Dubai title with a 3rd win on the World Tour Championship, offered McIlroy or Fox don’t end the occasion in second. Even a second-place end can be ok for Fitzpatrick so long as McIlroy doesn’t end decrease than seventh.
Fitzpatrick stated he was enjoying with “an actual sore throat” however was laughing together with his caddie after his early run of birdies.
“It was a pleasant begin to the day,” the Englishman stated. “The largest factor I’m so happy about is simply hitting 17 greens. And the one I missed I used to be an entire fool.”
McIlroy birdied 4 of his first eight holes however couldn’t get something occurring the again 9 and gave away an affordable shot when he three-putted for his fourth bogey on the sixteenth.
“Definitely not what I had hoped for,” McIlroy stated. “Simply began to drive the ball a bit crooked on the again 9. . . . It was good to birdie the final simply to shoot below par. However clearly I’ve had three weeks off for the reason that CJ Cup, so simply kind of making an attempt to knock the rust off just a little bit.”
The highest-ranked McIlroy is making an attempt to win the FedExCup and Race to Dubai in the identical 12 months for the primary time, having received every occasion on three events. His final Race to Dubai title got here in 2015, having additionally received it in 2012 and 2014.
4 different gamers — Tommy Fleetwood, Viktor Hovland, Shane Lowry and Adrian Meronk — even have an out of doors likelihood of overhauling McIlroy within the standings.
Of these, Fleetwood had the perfect opening spherical with a 68.
Hatton seemed set to take the only real lead after capping his late run of birdies with a 64-foot downhill putt on the sixteenth.
“It was hit and hope,” Hatton stated of that shot. “Clearly holing a putt from that distance down a tier like that, you want a whole lot of luck. There was just a few instances in the present day the place I did get fortunate, and that was clearly a pleasant break.”
– with AP