McIlroy and Lowry in the mix at US PGA; Farrell knows Ireland will need to adapt

The Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Paul Casey putts as Ian Poulter looks on as they play the 17th during the first round of the 2020 PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, California. Photo: Harry How/Getty Images

Paul Casey putts as Ian Poulter looks on as they play the 17th during the first round of the 2020 PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, California. Photo: Harry How/Getty Images

It’s been a long time coming but the first Major of the golf season got off to a fast start last night as Jason Day and Brendon Todd shot opening round of 65 to share the lead at the US PGA but Shane Lowry, Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods all remain in the hunt. Since winning the British Open 13 months ago, Lowry has had to wait a long time to get the Major juices flowing again but he did so with a very nice start on Thursday, signing for a two under par round of 68. That was the same score on the opening day for Woods who is going in search of his 16th Major title while McIlroy, who is looking to win his fifth and first in six years, looked to be in trouble early on but rallied to finish the day within five of the lead. Elsewhere, at the English Championship on the European Tour, Cormac Sharvin took sole possession of the opening round lead with a stunning 63.

On to rugby and Ireland head coach Andy Farrell knows the upcoming hectic autumn schedule will force him to spread the playing net wide and adapt to the high volume of matches. Speaking yesterday, Farrell said “it is going to be a completely different kettle of fish for ourselves; it could be from the off if Ulster and Leinster get into that final and win that final. We could be picking from two provincial teams or maybe three or, unfortunately, we might be able to pick from four.” Meanwhile, Farrell also spoke about Johnny Sexton and how his captain, who looks to have beefed up during the break, has been doing a lot more than just hitting the gym. The Ireland captain has also been brushing up on his leadership skills and Farrell says he has been impressed with what he has seen so far. In England, Geordan Murphy is navigating Leicester Tigers through the choppy waters of the current pandemic and he tells Gavin Cummiskey how it has been far from plain sailing.

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