McIlroy's hopes still alive after Woodland withdrawl

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy’s hopes of advancing at the World Golf Championship Match Play remain alive after the withdrawal of his scheduled opponent Gary Woodland.

However, Denmark’s Soren Kjeldsen, who beat McIlroy on Wednesday, only needs a half in his match against Argentine Emiliano Grillo to knock out the Northern Irishman.

“Due to a personal family matter, he must withdraw,” said a statement.

“We ask that you respect his family’s privacy at this time.”

The withdrawal of American Woodland, the runner-up two years ago, comes a day after defending champion Jason Day pulled out of the event in Austin, Texas, to spend time with his mother as she undergoes treatment for lung cancer.

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World Match Play: Rory McIlroy beaten by Soren Kjeldsen in opener

Soren Kjeldsen (L) of Denmark shakes hands with Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy lost to world number 68 Soren Kjeldsen in his opening group match at the World Golf Championship Match Play in Austin, USA.

McIlroy, the world number two, went down 2&1 as Denmark’s Kjeldsen sank his fourth birdie in a row on the 17th.

The Northern Irishman must beat Gary Woodland and Emiliano Grillo in his remaining Group Three matches to have a chance of reaching the last 16.

American Woodland defeated Argentina’s Grillo 3&2 in their opener.

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Tokyo 2020 golf venue votes to admit women

Kasumigaseki Country Club

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic golf venue has voted to admit women as full members.

The Kasumigaseki Country Club risked being stripped of the event if it did not change its membership policy, after being warned by the International Olympic Committee earlier this month.

Women were previously not allowed to become full members or play on Sundays.

The Tokyo 2020 organising committee says the club’s regulations have been changed following a unanimous decision by the executive board.

“On behalf of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, I’d like to extend my gratitude to the members of the club for their understanding and cooperation,” said committee president Yoshiro Mori.

“I also would like to express my admiration for the club’s endeavour to come to an agreement in such a short period of time.”

Rio 2016 was the first time golf event had been part of the Olympic programme since 1904. South Korea’s Inbee Park won the women’s title, with Great Britain’s Justin Rose securing the men’s.

Muirfield golf club recently voted to admit women as members for the first time in its history and was reinstated as a venue for the Open Championship.

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Arnold Palmer Invitational: Rory McIlroy & Tyrrell Hatton fourth as Leishman wins

Marc Leishman

Arnold Palmer Invitational final-round leaderboard:
-11 M Leishman (Aus); -10 K Kisner (US), C Hoffman (US; -9 R McIlroy (NI), T Hatton (Eng); -8 A Hadwin (Can); -7 E Grillo (Arg), F Molinari (Ita), L Glover (US)
Selected others: -6 T Fleetwood (Eng); -5 R Fowler (US); -4 J Rose (Eng), M Fitzpatrick; -2 J Day (Aus) ; -1 G McDowell (NI); +1 I Poulter (Eng), P Casey (Eng)
Full leaderboard (external site)

Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy and England’s Tyrrell Hatton finished in a tie for fourth at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

McIlroy (69) and Hatton (71) were two shots back of Australian winner Marc Leishman, who finished on 11 under par.

Leishman’s closing five-under-par 67, which included an eagle to take the lead on the 16th hole, was enough to earn him his second PGA Tour title.

Americans Kevin Kisner and Charlie Hoffman were tied second on 10 under.

“I thought going out today if I could shoot anything in the 60s it would be a good score,” McIlroy told Sky Sports.

“Obviously I was trying to shoot a couple lower than that, but overall played well. I’m really pleased with how I went this weekend and can take a lot of positives from it.”

England’s Tommy Fleetwood shot a four-under-par 68 on the final day to finish tied for 10th at six under, with countrymen Justin Rose and Matthew Fitzpatrick two shots further back in a tie for 13th.

McIlroy and Hatton will be back in action next week at the World Golf Championship Match Play event in Texas.

Rory McIlroy

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Hall takes third in World Ladies Championship

Georgia Hall

World Ladies Championship leaderboard:
-14 H R Kim (SK), S W Bae (SK); -11 G Hall (Eng), S Lee (SK), M S Kim (SK); -10 J Y Ko (SK)
Selected others:-9 J E Lee (SK); -6 K Henry (Sco); -3 F Parker (Eng); -2 F Johnson (Eng)
Full leaderboard (external site)

England’s Georgia Hall finished third in the SGF67 World Ladies Championship in wet conditions in Haikou, China.

The 20-year-old from Bournemouth, in her first European Tour appearance of the 2017 season, finished with a six-under 67 for 11 under overall.

South Korean duo Hae Rym Kim and Seon Woo Bae contested a play-off after both finished on 14 under over three rounds, with the former holding on for victory.

“I played well and my long game was really good,” Hall said.

“If I had reached the hole with more of my putts then I might have been in a play-off, but I’m joint third and I’m very happy with that.”

Also tied for third were South Korea’s Lee So-young and Min Sung Kim.

Scotland’s Kylie Henry, 31, finished 13th on six under par.

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Arnold Palmer Invitational: Tyrrell Hatton & Matthew Fitzpatrick three off lead

Tyrrell Hatton

Arnold Palmer Invitational second-round leaderboard:
-11 K Kisner (US), C Hoffman (US); -8 T Hatton (Eng), M Fitzpatrick (Eng), M Leishman (Aus); -7 A Hadwin (Can),L Glover (US)
Selected others: -6 R McIlroy (NI); -5 R Fowler, J Rose (Eng), P Casey (Eng); -2 T Fleetwood (Eng), G McDowell (NI); Level I Poulter (Eng), J Day (Aus)
Full leaderboard (external site)

England’s Tyrrell Hatton and Matthew Fitzpatrick are both three shots off the lead going into the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Hatton made eight birdies and three bogeys in his five-under-par 67, while Fitzpatrick carded a level-par 72.

They are tied with Australia’s Marc Leishman (71) at Bay Hill, three shots behind American leaders Charlie Hoffman (71) and Kevin Kisner (68).

Rory McIlroy moved up to a tie for eighth after a seven-under-par 65.

World number three McIlroy scored the joint-lowest round of the day, along with American Rickie Fowler – who moved into a tie for 11th.

The 27-year-old Northern Irishman started the round 11 shots behind overnight leader Hoffman, but five birdies on the back nine moved him up the leaderboard.

“I just played better, held some putts, which was nice to see. I just had to put it all together and I did,” McIlroy told the PGA Tour.

“Hopefully I can be in with a shout and then if I get off to a fast start tomorrow, I can be right in there.”

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Arnold Palmer Invitational: Matthew Fitzpatrick two shots off lead at Bay Hill

Matthew Fitzpatrick

Arnold Palmer Invitational second-round leaderboard:
-10 C Hoffman (US); -9 E Grillo (Arg); -8 M Fitzpatrick (Eng); -7 L Glover (US), K Kisner (US), M Lieshman (US)
Selected others: -4 P Casey (Eng); -3 J Day (Aus),J Rose (Eng), T Hatton (Eng); -1 G McDowell (NI); Level T Fleetwood (Eng); +1 R McIlroy (NI), M Laird (Sco), I Poulter (Eng)
Full leaderboard (external site)

England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick goes into the weekend two shots off leader Charley Hoffman after a second-round 69 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Fitzpatrick made five birdies and three bogeys to end on eight under par, one stroke behind Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo and two off American Hoffman.

Paul Casey (72) is four under, while Australia’s world number two Jason Day moved to three under with a 71.

Rory McIlroy is one over following a dramatic outward nine in a round of 71.

The Northern Irishman, ranked third, opened on the back nine with two bogeys, before a birdie, an eagle and a double bogey when he found the water on the 16th.

Hoffman, 40, bogeyed the opening hole but then made seven birdies to reach the halfway mark at 10 under par.

“If you get in the fairway you can sort of attack,” said Hoffman.

“The greens are surprisingly receptive. You can shoot at some of those pins that in the past you haven’t and I was able to take advantage of it.

“A pretty solid round. I’m pretty happy. I hope I can keep it going the next few days.”

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Arnold Palmer Invitational: Matthew Fitzpatrick tied for lead after first round

Matthew Fitzpatrick

Arnold Palmer Invitational first-round leaderboard:
-5 E Grillo (Arg), M Fitzpatrick (Eng); -4 L Glover (US), P Casey (Eng), C Hoffman (US); -3 G Chalmers (Aus), R Ruffels (Aus)
Selected others:-2 J Day (Aus); -1 J Rose (Eng); Lev I Poulter (Eng), G McDowell (NI); +2 R McIlroy (NI)
Full leaderboard (external site)

England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick carded a first-round 67 to take a share of the lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

The 22-year-old, ranked 30th in the world, birdied three of his last nine holes to end the day on five under par.

Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo had earlier recovered from two early bogeys to reel off seven birdies in cold conditions to set the clubhouse lead at Bay Hill.

He and Fitzpatrick are one clear of England’s Paul Casey, while Rory McIlroy opened with a two-over 74.

The Northern Irishman bogeyed three holes on his back nine, including the 18th, and hit a double bogey on the 11th.

World number two Jason Day made a solid start to the defence of his title with a two-under opening round of 70, as the early players began in near freezing temperatures.

Jason Day

The Arnold Palmer Invitational is being held for the first time since Palmer died last September at the age of 87.

His grandson, PGA Tour player Sam Saunders, finished the opening day on two over par.

World number one Dustin Johnson and fellow major winners Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott are absent, while Masters champion Danny Willett withdrew on Thursday because of illness.

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Ill Willett pulls out of Palmer Invitational

Danny Willett

Reigning Masters champion Danny Willett has withdrawn from this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational because of illness.

The 2017 Masters begins in three weeks at the Augusta National in Georgia.

The Englishman, who won his first major by three shots, is scheduled to play in next week’s WGC Match Play in Texas.

Willett, the world number 14, said on Twitter: