Fisher shares early lead
England's Ross Fisher made a bright start to his Irish Open title
defence on Thursday, carding a four-under-par 67 to put him among the
early clubhouse leaders in Killarney.
Fisher was paired with US Open champion Rory McIlroy, out of sorts at
the British Open, who enjoyed mixed fortunes as he signed for a one
The Northern Irishman had bounced straight back from his
disappointing performance at Sandwich to set the early pace with four
birdies in the first 10 holes before marring his day with a bogey at the
11th and a closing double bogey.
Playing in his first tournament on home soil since the US Open, the
22-year-old pulled off what he described as "one of the best shots I've
ever hit" to save par at the 14th after a spectacular hook around the
trees from deep rough onto the green.
But he met trouble again on the 18th when, lying at three under par
and one off the lead, he went from a fairway bunker into water for his
double bogey. "At four under through 10, things were going along quite
nicely, but I didn't drive it great all day and I played some scrappy
golf coming in," he reflected.
"My driving caught up with me at the end. I just need to be more
decisive on the tees I was stuck in two minds."
Of his 130-yard approach at the 14th to within 20 feet of the flag
that he had to move nearly 50 yards right to left he said: "All I was
trying to do was get it in the front bunker."
Later McIlroy became embroiled in a row on social networking site
Twitter with commentator and former European Tour player Jay Townsend.
McIlroy's ire was spiked when Townsend described his course
management as "shocking" and "some of the worst I have ever seen beyond
under-10 boys' golf competition".
McIlroy responded: "Shut up ... you're a commentator and a failed
golfer, your opinion means nothing!"
Townsend stated that he stood by his comments and McIlroy then said:
"Well, I stand by my caddie."
McIlroy set the golfing world alight with his eight-stroke win at the
US Open, but his hopes of doubling up in the British Open were dashed in
the poor weather in Kent when he trailed in only 25th.
It was then announced that McIlroy's relationship with long-time
girlfriend Holly Sweeney was over and he was linked with tennis world
number one Caroline Wozniacki, but he laughed on Wednesday when asked if
the tape on his fingers was caused by playing too much tennis.
"Very funny," he said before commenting about his personal life: "I
try to keep it as private as possible.
"Sometimes it's not possible, but it is what it is and you just have
to handle that as best you can."
His compatriot and last year's US Open champion Graeme McDowell came
in with a one over 73.