Rory McIlroy: Win at The Open 'not in my hands’ despite nine behind leader Brian Harman | Golf News

Rory McIlroy nine strokes behind clubhouse leader Brian Harman after rounds of 71 and 70 at the 151st Open; McIlroy is chasing a fifth major title and first since 2014; Watch live all weekend on Sky Sports Golf

By Ali Stafford at Royal Liverpool

17:25, UK, Friday 21 July 2023

Rory McIlroy believes he still has a good chance of ending a nine-year drought despite falling nine strokes halfway down the 151st Open at Royal Liverpool.

The four-time major champion, who last won the Claret Jug at The Open at Royal Liverpool in 2014, mixed three birdies with two bogeys to post a second-round 70 to go under.

McIlroy is chasing a second victory in as many weeks following his win at the Genesis Scottish Open on Sunday, with the former world No 1 relishing his half despite sitting far from clubhouse boss Brian Harman.

Rory McIlroy’s last major victory came at the 2014 PGA Championship, a month after he lifted the Claret Jack at Hoylake.

„I may be nine, but I don’t think there’s going to be a ton of players between me and the leaders going into the weekend,” McIlroy said. „Tomorrow depends on what the conditions are. Obviously depends on Brian [Harman] does, as well.

„Right now it’s out of my hands, but at the same time, if I can go three, four or five down on par with Sunday tomorrow, I think I’ll have a good chance.”

McIlroy was joined by Jon Rahm (left) and Justin Rose (center), who sat at two over and six, respectively.

McIlroy got off to a dream start with a 12-foot birdie at the first, but missed a chance from within five feet at the third, then got up and landed from a greenside bunker to take advantage of the par-five fifth.

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The 34-year-old, whose wild chip into the rough hit the pin for par on the ninth, saw him turn in 33, bogey the 11th and fail to convert another birdie chance from within the next eight feet.

Rory McIlroy sees a heavy pitch from the rough saved by the flag on the ninth.

McIlroy made a brilliant par-save at the 14th and rolled from 10 feet to not drop a shot at the 17th, recovered from a par-five bogey at the next, then recovered from a stray run off the 18th tee to finish with an eight-foot birdie.

„Important, definitely important to me,” McIlroy said of birdieing the final hole. „I got off to a great start. A couple of under nines, and then a couple of… kind of… easy holes on 11 and 15 gave me those shots. But it was nice to get one of them back on 18.

What to watch on Sky Sports this week

151st Open – 20 to 23 July – Live on Sky Sports Golf
Fourth Men’s Ashes Test – 19th to 23rd July – Live on Sky Sports Cricket
Premier League Summer Series – From 23 July – Live on Sky Sports Premier League
Hungarian Grand Prix – 21st to 23rd July – Live on Sky Sports F1
F1 Juniors: Hungarian GP – July 23 – Live on Sky Sports Mix
Darts to play the world match – 17th to 23rd July – Live on Sky Sports Action
Women’s World Matchplay Darts – 22nd to 23rd July – Live on Sky Sports Action
IBF lightweight title eliminator – July 23 – Live on Sky Sports Action

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„It was played hard. It was played really hard – 10 under [from Brian Harman] It’s incredibly interesting there. We’ll see what happens over the weekend, but after two days I’m very happy with my two days’ work.”

Harman set the clubhouse target after carding an eagle and four birdies in a thrilling six-under 65, the American leading the weekend as he chases his first major title and first PGA Tour victory since 2017.

Brian Harman says he loves playing at The Open after shooting a second-round 65 at Royal Liverpool.

„Brian [Harman] He’s a very calm, unflappable guy, so I think he’ll be good,” McIlroy said. „Yeah, he’s playing great.

„He’s been doing some good work with Justin Parsons, yeah, he’s been on the leaderboards the last few weeks. He was there last week, I think.

“I don’t know him that well, but obviously I’ve played with him quite a bit [PGA] I think the tour, and his swing and the way he plays, definitely fits this style of golf.”

Watch the 151st Open live on Sky Sports all week. Live coverage continues on Sky Sports Golf. Stream The Open and more now for £21 a month.

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