Rory McIlroy needs top-four BMW finish to maintain play-offs hopes

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy heads into this week’s BMW Championship in Illinois needing a top-four finish to retain any hopes of repeating his 2016 FedEx Cup triumph.

McIlroy is 51st in the play-offs standings and only the top 30 on Sunday evening will go forward to next week’s Tour Championship finale in Atlanta.

His winless 2017 has seen him drop to sixth in the world rankings.

McIlroy, 28, landed last year’s Tour Championship which clinched him a £7.8m bonus as he won the FedEx Cup series.

The four-time major winner plans to contest next month’s pro-am format Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland with his father Gerry before calling time on a frustrating campaign.

This week’s event at Conway Mills will be his final tournament in the US this year if he doesn’t qualify for the Tour Championship.

McIlroy has played only 15 events in an injury-plagued season and plans to take several months off to fully recover from a lingering rib injury after competing in Scotland.

The Northern Irishman will tee off alongside Scotland’s Martin Laird and American Ollie Schniederjans in his first round at 17:11 BST on Thursday.

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Walker Cup 2017: United States thrash Great Britain & Ireland 19-7

Dejected looking GB players at the closing ceremony of the Walker Cup

The United States won back amateur golf’s Walker Cup by thrashing Great Britain and Ireland 19-7 at the Los Angeles Country Club.

The match was tied at 2-2 after Saturday’s morning foursomes, but the home side dominated that afternoon’s singles to open an 8-4 lead.

They then won Sunday’s foursomes 3-1 and the final singles matches 8-2 to secure a comfortable victory.

The US regained a trophy they lost at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 2015.

David Boote was the only British player to win a singles match on Sunday, while Robert MacIntyre and Scott Gregory both halved their matches.

Home teams have won 11 of the past 13 Walker Cups, with GB’s last win in America in 2001.

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European Masters: Matthew Fitzpatrick defeats Scott Hend in dramatic play-off

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European Masters final leaderboard
-14: Hend (Aus), *Fitzpatrick (Eng); -11: Hatton (Eng), Zanotti (Par); -10: Ilonen (Fin); -9: Slattery (Eng), Noren (Swe), Fichardt (SA)
Selected others: -8: Stewart (Sco); -6: Gallacher (Sco); -5: Ramsay (Sco), Horsey (Eng); Level: Westwood (Eng); +3: Donald (Eng)
*Denotes winner after play-off

Matthew Fitzpatrick won his fourth European Tour title with a dramatic play-off victory over Australia’s Scott Hend at the European Masters.

The 23-year-old shot a closing six-under 64 to finish on 14 under Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club in Switzerland.

Hend led by three shots going into round four and had an eight-foot putt to win on the second play-off hole.

But he missed and a wayward shot from a bunker on the third play-off hole gave Fitzpatrick the chance to close out.

“I’m delighted,” said Englishman Fitzpatrick. “It’s one that I’ve always wanted to win. I love playing this golf course. It’s always stood out on the schedule.

“We kept our nerve and played really smart all week.”

More to follow.

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Lexi Thompson beats Lydia Ko to win Indy Women in Tech Championship

Lexi Thompson at the Indy 500 race track

Indy Women in Tech Championship
-19 L Thompson (US); -15 L Ko (NZ); -14 M Lee (NZ); -13 O Kristinsdottir (Ice); -12 H Kang (Kor)
Selected others:-6 M Reid (Eng), H Clyburn (Eng); -5 H Burke (Eng); -2 F Johnson (Eng); -1 B Law (Eng); +1 C Matthew (Sco)
Full leaderboard

American Lexi Thompson comfortably won the inaugural Indy Women in Tech Championship, the last tournament before the final major of the season.

The 22-year-old shot a four-under-par 68 to finish on 19 under, four strokes clear of New Zealand’s overnight leader Lydia Ko in Indianapolis.

“It’s a big confidence booster going into the last major of the year,” said Thompson.

The Evian Championship in Evian, France, starts on Thursday.

Victory was Thompson’s ninth on the LPGA Tour.

Ko fell away with a double bogey at the par-four 11th hole at the Brickyard Crossing Golf Course in Indianapolis.

Australian Minjee Lee was one shot further back in third, while England’s Mel Reid and Holly Clyburn finished in a share of 30th on six under.

The three-day, 52-hole event was a new tournament this year.

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European Masters: Scott Hend leads Matt Fitzpatrick as round three suspended

Hend's caddie is his wife Leanne

European Masters third-round leaderboard
-11: Hend* (Aus); -9: Fichardt* (SA), Fitzpatrick* (Eng), Zanotti* (Par); -8: Fraser (Aus), Jaidee* (Tha), Sterne* (SA), Bermester (SA), Bjork* (Swe), Bjerregaard (Den);
Selected others:-7: Hatton (Eng), Stewart (Sco); –6: S Gallacher (Sco), Drysdale (Sco); -5: Noren (Swe), Slattery (Eng); +1: Donald (Eng), Westwood (Eng), Ramsay (Sco)
*Denotes yet to complete third round

Australia’s Scott Hend extended his lead at the European Masters but was unable to finish his third round on a fog-affected day in Switzerland.

Hend held a one-shot lead overnight but a birdie on 13 took him to 11 under, stretching his advantage by a stroke just before play ended for the day.

Over two hours of play were lost at Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club.

Matt Fitzpatrick reached the 15th hole on nine under, the same mark as Fabrizio Zanotti and Darren Fichardt.

The three are among 12 players with holes to complete and round three will resume at 07:00 BST on Sunday, with round four scheduled to start at 08:55 in a three-ball format.

South Africa’s Fichardt started the day with three straight bogeys and was three over for his round, which was halted on the 13th hole.

Paraguay’s Zanotti also only reached the 13th but his four birdies on the day were cancelled out by double bogeys on 10 and 12, leaving him level for his round.

Fitzpatrick has won on the European Tour on three occasions but has not picked up a win this year. The Englishman, 22, arrowed his ball to within six feet on the ninth to set up a third birdie of the day and when play ended he was one under for the round with three holes to complete.

Hend battled in the testing conditions and despite being two over on the day, his nearest rivals’ rounds meant his lead lengthened.

The world number 98 produced one of the shots of the day when behind a line of trees hugging the ninth fairway, clipping a low approach close to save par.

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European Masters: Scott Hend leads at halfway stage on 13 under par

Scott Hend

European Masters second-round leaderboard
-13 Hend (Aus); -12 Fichardt (SA); -9 Jaidee (Tha), Zanotti (Par), Sinnott (Aus); -8 Fox (NZ), Suri (US), Fitzpatrick (Eng)
Selected others: -7 Gallacher (Sco); -6 Drysdale (Sco); -5 Hatton (Eng); -4 Ramsay (Sco); -3 Jimenez (Spa); -2 Westwood (Eng); -1 Donald (Eng); +2 Fleetwood (Eng); +8 Willett

Australia’s Scott Hend carded a seven-under-par 63 to take a one-shot halfway lead at the European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre in Switzerland.

Hend, who had been tied for the overnight lead with Tyrrell Hatton and Miguel Angel Jimenez, had an eagle and five birdies in his second round.

South Africa’s Darren Fichardt matched Hend’s 63 to sit in second place.

England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick is eight under, but compatriots Tommy Fleetwood and Danny Willett missed the cut.

Hatton’s one-over-par 71 left him five under, while Jimenez finished three over for the day to fall 10 shots off the lead.

England’s Lee Westwood, who is playing in his 500th European Tour event, is on two under.

Former Masters champion Willett was well outside the cut line of par, finishing on eight over, while Fleetwood was two over.

Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher is on seven under, with compatriot David Drysdale a shot back.

“It would be nice to putt a little bit better but when you walk off with 63 it’s fantastic,” Hend, who lost last year’s tournament on a play-off, told Sky Sports.

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England's Hatton tied for European Masters lead

Tyrell Hatton

European Masters first-round leaderboard
-6 Hatton (Eng), Jimenez (Spa), Hend (Aus); -5 Stewart (Sco), Drysdale (Sco), Sinnott (Aus), Fichardt (SA), Fox (NZ), Jaidee (Tha); -4 Im (US), Zanotti (Par), Da Silva (Brz), Pigem (Spa), Crocker (US)
Selected others:-3 Fitzpatrick (Eng); -2 Gallacher (Sco), Armitage (Eng). Donald (Eng); -1 Dunne (Ire), Morrison (Eng), Shinkwin (Eng); +1 Westwood (Eng); +2 Donaldson (Wal), Fleetwood (Eng); +6 D Willett (Eng)
Full leaderboard

England’s Tyrrell Hatton, Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez and Australian Scott Hend are tied for the lead after the first round of the European Masters after they carded six-under-par 64s.

Scottish duo Duncan Stewart and David Drysdale are part of a six-strong group on five under at Crans-sur-Sierre in Switzerland.

England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick is on three under, while compatriot Lee Westwood, who is playing in his 500th European Tour event, is in 82nd place at one over par.

Hatton, who has not made a cut since the BMW PGA Championship in May, scored an eagle on the 12th and added five birdies and a bogey on his way to a round of 64.

“It was a difficult summer so very happy with today’s round and hopefully I can post a few more good numbers this week,” said the 25-year-old, who has slipped from a career high of 14th in the world rankings to 30th.

Jimenez, 53, is aiming to break his own record as the oldest European Tour winner.

The Spaniard, who won the Open de Espana in 2014 at the age of 50 years and 133 days, carded seven birdies and a bogey in the opening round.

Hend lost the 2016 tournament to Alex Noren on a play-off, with the Swede carding a level-par round on Thursday.

The 44-year-old Hend shot seven birdies and a single bogey in his round.

Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn was forced to withdraw after 15 holes due to an ongoing foot injury.

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McIlroy at lowest world ranking for more than three years

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy will enter next week’s BMW Championship play-offs event in the US at his lowest world ranking for more than three years.

The four-time major winner has slipped from fourth to sixth in the rankings after missing the cut at the Dell Technologies Championship in Boston.

Winner Justin Thomas and Spain’s Jon Rahm have both moved above McIlroy.

The last time McIlroy was ranked so low was when he occupied eighth spot before his Open Championship win in 2014.

McIlroy, 28, has played only 15 events in an injury-plagued season and plans to play three more tournaments before taking several months off to fully recover from a lingering rib injury.

However, he has slipped to 51st in the FedEx Cup standings and needs a good performance in the BMW Championship at Conway Farms in Illinois to climb into the top 30 and qualify for the Tour Championship.

McIlroy defeated Ryan Moore and Kevin Chappell in a play-off in Atlanta 12 months ago to win the overall FedEx Cup title, which landed him a £7.8m bonus.

The Northern Irishman is keen to avoid just his second full winless season since turning professional and plans to contest the pro-am format Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland with his father Gerry in early October before calling time on a frustrating campaign.

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Dell Championship: Justin Thomas beats Jordan Spieth to win title in Boston

Justin Thomas

Dell Championship final-round leaderboard
-17 J Thomas (US)); -14 J Spieth (US); -13 M Leishman (Aus); -12 J Rahm (Spa), P Casey (Eng); -11 P Mickelson (US), K Na (US), P Reed (US),P Perez (US); -10 B Haas, J Rose (Eng)
Selected others: -8 R Fowler (US); -7 D Johnson (US); -5 I Poulter (Eng); -4 J Day (Aus); -2 S Garcia (Spa); -1 M Laird (Sco)

US PGA winner Justin Thomas held off Open champion Jordan Spieth to win the Dell Championship by three shots.

Thomas, 24, held the overnight lead at 12 under with Marc Leishman, before the Australian moved to 18 under – a two-shot lead – following six birdies.

Spieth then joined leader Leishman, but both made bogeys as Thomas holed birdies on 13 and 15 to move clear.

The American shot a final-round 66 to finish on 17 under, with Spieth second and Leishman third on 13 under.

Spieth, who shot a final-round 67, now leads the FedEx Cup standings with 5,071 points, going into the BMW Championship – the third of four play-off events. Compatriot Thomas is in second spot with 5,044 points.

Paul Casey went around the course at TPC Boston in 70 to end the tournament tied fourth on 12 under, two strokes ahead of fellow Englishman Justin Rose, who shot a 68.

World number one Dustin Johnson, who was the FedEx Cup points leader going into the tournament, finished on seven under, tied for 18th. He is third in the FedEx race with 4,650 points.

In January, Thomas became the youngest man to break 60 on the PGA Tour when he carded an 11-under 59 at the Sony Open in Hawaii, and in June he was the first man to shoot a nine-under-par round at the US Open.

He won his first major in August when he clinched the US PGA Championship – he was embraced by three-time major winner Spieth after coming off the final green.

The Dell Championship was the second of the four FedEx Cup play-off tournaments. The field will be cut from the top 100 points leaders to just the top 70 for the BMW Championship, starting on 14 September.

The final event is the Tour Championship (21-24 September) which features the top 30 points scorers. The winner of 2017 the FedEx Cup will collect a prize of $10m (£7.73m).

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Lewis gives £150,000 winnings to Houston effort

Stacy Lewis

Stacy Lewis donated her £150,000 prize money to the flood victims in Houston after winning the Portland Classic.

The American began the final day with a three-shot lead but won by one shot from South Korea’s Chun In-gee.

Lewis carded a 69 in her last round in Oregon to finish on 20-under, while In-gee shot a 66.

“We’re going to be able to help people rebuild houses and get their homes back. That’s more important than any win,” said Lewis.

The victory was her first LPGA Tour title since 2014.

She had pledged to donate her winnings to the relief effort following Storm Harvey in Houston, where she and her husband have a house, prior to the tournament.

Lewis was also told one of her sponsors would match her donation.

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