Rory Mcllroy’s patience tested as he returns with 3-under 69 in Abu Dhabi

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy tees off on the 14th hole during the first round of the Abu Dhabi Championship golf tournament in the UAE. (AP)
Updated 18 January 2018

Rory Mcllroy’s patience tested as he returns with 3-under 69 in Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI: Rory McIlroy’s patience was tested Thursday on his comeback and he needed three late birdies to register a 3-under 69 that left him three strokes behind first-round leaders Tommy Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
Starting on the 10th hole, McIlroy made 11 straight pars, which included a three-putt par on the par-5 18th.
Fleetwood, the defending Abu Dhabi champion and last year’s European Tour money-list winner, continued his excellent form by hitting all 18 greens in regulation.
There was a five-way tie for third place with Fabrizio Zanotti, Ross Fisher, Thomas Pieters, Bernd Wiesberger and Sam Brazel shooting 67s.
Top-ranked Dustin Johnson drove his ball into a lake at the ninth, his closing hole, to finish with a 72. Matt Kuchar was also on level-par while Justin Rose went one better with a 71.
McIlroy, who hit 17 greens in regulation, collected his first birdie of the day by making an uphill 15-foot putt at the third and made further birdies at the seventh and eighth.
“First competitive round in over 100 days so it’s a little bit different,” said McIlroy, who last played at the Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland on Oct. 8. “But I did well. I stayed patient.
“I gave myself loads of chances. Really pleased. I played very solid. I think I only missed one or two greens, drove the ball well and the iron play was pretty good. So just need to keep doing that over the next three days and I should have a chance.”
Fleetwood said he had control of his ball throughout.
“It was very good . very stress-free,” he said. “Played really well from start to finish.
“Felt like I did what you need to do well around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons, but you can’t really be too greedy all the time. My pace putting was really good. (Hitting) 18 greens doesn’t happen very often so nice to do it around here.”

Kimmich: Bayern need to stay ‘hungry’ for Champions League bid

Updated 09 July 2020

Kimmich: Bayern need to stay ‘hungry’ for Champions League bid

  • Under head coach Flick, Bayern have won all 11 games since the season resumed in mid-May

BERLIN: Bayern Munich midfielder Joshua Kimmich says the double-winning German champions must stay “fully focused and greedy” for more silverware during their two-week holiday before launching their assault on the Champions League.

“Now it’s time to recharge our batteries and then tackle the Champions League with full focus and greed,” the 25-year-old told magazine Sport Bild.

Head coach Hans-Dieter Flick sent Bayern on a two-week holiday after winning the German Cup last Saturday before fine-tuning their preparations for the Champions League.

After completing the double with a 4-2 cup final win over Leverkusen, Bundesliga champions Bayern are on a 17-match winning streak dating back to February.

Under Flick, Bayern have won all 11 games since the season resumed in Germany in mid-May amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Bayern are chasing a treble and are among the favorites in Europe after routing Chelsea 3-0 in London in the last 16, first leg, last February before the Champions League halted due to COVID-19.

Bayern still need to finish the tie to reach the quarterfinals and the draw for the remaining rounds in the knockout stages takes place this Friday. Kimmich called on his teammates to keep training during their break to maintain the “hunger” for the Champions League finals in Lisbon next month.

“It will be decisive how we return from vacation: We want to keep that feeling, that hunger,” Kimmich added.

Having stumbled last November, when Flick succeeded Niko Kovac who was sacked following a 5-1 thrashing by Frankfurt, Bayern are now in great form.

Robert Lewandowski has scored 51 goals this season, including 34 in the Bundesliga and is the Champions League’s top-scorer with 11.

Behind the Poland striker, Thomas Mueller has 25 assists, including a record 21 in the Bundesliga.

Kimmich has bossed the defensive midfield alongside Germany teammate Leon Goretzka and suggests Bayern have developed a mental edge.

“In the last two seasons, mentality has been the most important factor in winning the German league title,” said Kimmich.

“FC Bayern may be ahead of other teams in this respect.”