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Saturday, December 10, 2022
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Saturday, December 10, 2022
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    McIlroy grabs CJ Cup lead in bid to regain top ranking

    WASHINGTON (AFP) – Rory McIlroy, chasing a title repeat and a return to the number one world ranking spot, fired two eagles in a four-under par 67 yesterday to seize a one-shot lead at the US PGA Tour CJ Cup.

    McIlroy picked up five strokes on the three par-fives at Congaree Golf Club in Ridgeland, South Carolina, bagging eagles at the fourth and 12th.

    The four-time major winner from Northern Ireland had a one-stroke lead over fifth-ranked Spaniard Jon Rahm, South Korean Lee Kyoung-hoon and American Kurt Kitayama.

    “The golf course definitely played tougher,” McIlroy said of the par-71 Congaree Golf Club layout in Ridgeland, South Carolina.

    His CJ Cup title last year came in Las Vegas, with this year marking the third straight that the event was moved from South Korea because of coronavirus pandemic travel restrictions.

    Rory McIlroy plays a shot on the 16th hole during the third round of the CJ Cup. PHOTO: AFP

    “Some of the hole locations were in dicey spots, and as the day goes on the course dries out, it just gets firmer and faster. Sometimes, when you’re out of position bogey is a decent score,” added McIlroy, who called his inward run “scrappy”.

    Despite those errant shots coming in, McIlroy got the job done on the par-fives.

    McIlroy followed a birdie at the par-five second with a bogey from the waste bunker at the third.

    He responded with his eagle at the fourth, where his 227-yard second shot from the fairway settled two and a half feet from the pin.

    He rolled in a 10-foot birdie at the par-three seventh and eagled 12, where he rolled in a 32-foot putt from off the green after bombing his tee shot 376 yards down the fairway.

    “I think the eagle on 12 was the most fun, just after how far I hit the tee shot,” he said, but added: “The six-iron into four as well – it landed absolutely perfect.”

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