OKBET GOLF NEWS: Ryder Cup
On the course that will host the Ryder Cup in 2019, Rory McIlroy and Matt Fitzpatrick, who won the U.S. Open, are starting to feel quite at home.
Luke Donald, the captain of Europe, made a rookie mistake when he hit into the thick rough at the Marco Simone club outside of Rome and then shot the wrong ball, which resulted in a two-stroke penalty for him.
McIlroy (66) produced an eagle for the second consecutive day, and Fitzpatrick (69) recorded five consecutive birdies in the second round on Friday as they stood one and two, respectively, around the midpoint of the Italian Open. McIlroy’s score was an eagle. Fitzpatrick’s score was a 69. The round had to be postponed for the second consecutive day due to the onset of nightfall.
Overall, McIlroy was at 9 under par 133, while Fitzpatrick was one stroke behind him. McIlroy was playing in Italy for the first time as a professional with the express purpose of being familiar with the course that will be used for the Ryder Cup.
After McIlroy had taken a share of the overnight clubhouse lead with an opening 67 before play was cut short on Thursday, Fitzpatrick had a strong finish early Friday to take the lead after the first round with a 65. This came after Fitzpatrick had followed McIlroy in taking a share of the overnight clubhouse lead with an opening 67.
After that, it was McIlroy who took the lead when he sank an eagle putt on the par-5 12th and celebrated by giving a small wave. This was in contrast to his arms-above-the-head reaction the previous day when he holed out an approach shot for an eagle on the par-4 third hole.
After winning his first major championship in June at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, Fitzpatrick also finished tied for fifth at this year’s PGA Championship. This was Fitzpatrick’s first major victory. A veteran of the European Tour with 28 years of experience under his belt, he is competing in the Italian Open for the seventh time after finishing in second place in 2019.
McIlroy and Fitzpatrick
Fitzpatrick stated, “I love Italy,” and went on to say that he is a huge lover of football. “I came to see Roma in the month of December.”
On the driveable par-4 16th hole, Donald struggled to a triple bogey by hitting his tee shot into the rough and then playing the wrong ball. This led to his poor score.
On Twitter, Donald referred to it as “A first for me.” “After a poor drive into the thick rough, the spotter immediately moves to the ball. I play the shot, only to later realize that I’ve played the incorrect ball. The ball is a red Titleist 4, but it does not have my insignia on it.”
However, Donald was able to rebound and finish in contention by making birdies on five of the following eight holes. He finished the round with a score of five under par.
After the match, Donald speculated that the rough would be “quite high” for the 2023 Ryder Cup, which will be held at Marco Simone, the third course in continental Europe to host golf’s most prestigious team competition, following Valderrama in Spain (1997) and Le Golf National in France (2018).
According to Donald, “we want to put more of an emphasis on hitting the fairways.” “This rough features a unique species of grass than the rest of the course. Because the blade has some thickness to it, it does not need to be overly heavy in order for it to be durable… It goes without saying that we want to play in conditions that are comparable to those we played in this year.”
Nicolai Hojgaard (70), the defending champion, stayed in contention as well at 5 under, and 10th-ranked Viktor Hovland (68), who was one stroke farther behind, was still in the mix. Tom Lewis was in third place with a score of 7 under, and Victor Perez was in fourth place with a score of 6 under.
Local player Filippo Celli continued to impress in his professional debut following a stellar amateur career. He finished at 1 under par and made the cut after shooting an eagle with a wedge shot on the 12th hole of the tournament.
On the fourth hole, which is 187 yards long, Julien Quesne had a hole in one.
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