Rory McIlroy birdies the last in darkness to lead the Italian Open

Rory McIlroy in contention to win his first Italian Open on his tournament debut.

Andy Roberts's picture
Fri, 16 Sep 2022
Rory McIlroy birdies the last in darkness to lead the Italian Open

Rory McIlroy birdied the par-5 18th in darkness to take a one-shot lead heading into the weekend of the Italian Open at Marco Simone. 

Despite the hooter sounding to a suspension of play, McIlroy's group were already bounding down the last and so they had the option to finish and avoid an early return on Saturday morning.

They agreed to carry on and McIlroy went on to chip and putt for a closing birdie and round of 66 to move into a narrow one-shot lead over US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick on 9-under par. 

Former World No.1 McIlroy is looking to win the Italian Open on his tournament debut. 

Should McIlroy complete the job on Sunday, it would mark his 15th career win on the DP World Tour.

McIlroy has also committed to the Dunhill Links at St Andrews in two weeks' time, which not much to his liking, will feature 11 LIV Golf rebels

More: Matt Fitzpatrick shares hilarious text exchange with his brother Alex Fitzpatrick

McIlroy did not have his A-game out there on the 2023 Ryder Cup venue but he finished well with two birdies on the final three holes to hit the front for the first time all week. 

He also produced one of the flop shots of the season

England's Tom Lewis is two off the pace on 7-under par.

Elsewhere, Tyrrell Hatton and European Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald are back on 5-under par. 

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