McIlroy and Harrington just two off early lead


US TOURRORY McILROY and Pádraig Harrington made fine starts to the FedEx St Jude Classic in Memphis yesterday, but Graeme McDowell continued his struggle to find some form ahead of next week’s US Open in San Francisco.

All three Irish golfers are playing together over the opening two rounds, with McIlroy and Harrington sharing the spoils after they both carded two-under-par 68s to lie two shots off early clubhouse leader Jeff Maggert.

Starting on the 10th they both birdied the par-four 12th, with McIlroy also making a gain at the short 14th. Harrington drew level with a birdie at the par-five 16th as they both turned in 33, at which stage McDowell was already in trouble. A bogey at the 12th was followed by a double bogey on the par-four 15th, after the Rathmore golfer found water with his second shot. A further bogey at the 17th pushed him out to four over at the turn.

McIlroy added another birdie at the first, but Harrington went a shot clear in their head to head after he made birdie to the world number two’s bogey on the par-five third, with the Holywood golfer finding water this time around.

Harrington handed his advantage back with a bogey at the fourth before making par for his remaining five holes, with McIlroy trading off a birdie at the sixth with a bogey on the short eighth on his way home.

After further bogeys on the third and fourth, McDowell picked up a birdie on the 18th to finish with a five-over-par 75.

Maggert made it to six under during when he rolled in an eight-foot eagle putt on the third hole, but he found trouble over his closing six holes, with bogeys on the fifth and eighth.