Italian Open: Rory McIlroy takes lead, Matt Fitzpatrick slips back to prepare for exciting weekend | golf news

Rory McIlroy hits a five-under-69 in the second round to lead Matt Fitzpatrick with one shot before the weekend. Tom Lewis and Victor Perez lead the chase group, with Terrell Hutton, Jordan Smith and Luke Donald also

Last update: 09/16/22 7:30 PM

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The best of the second round of the DS Italian Open Car Championships at Marco Simone Track.

The best of the second round of the DS Italian Open Car Championships at Marco Simone Track.

Rory McIlroy produced a quick feat in more ways than one to snatch a halfway lead from his rider-cup teammate Matt Fitzpatrick in the DS Italian Open.

The McIlroy group seemed unlikely to complete their second rounds after taking three hours to play the nine holes, but they covered the back nine in two hours and 15 minutes to finish in near darkness at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club.

Former World Open champion Francesco Molinari even ran from 17th to 18th to ensure the group avoided an early return to the track on Saturday morning, with play suspended just two minutes later.

McIlroy Bird finished 16th and 18th to complete an event-packed 66 featuring an eagle, six birds and three ghosts, for a total of nine birds midway, giving the world number two a one-shot advantage over US Open champion Fitzpatrick.

“I probably saved myself about three hours in bed tomorrow after I finished it and I’m very happy with that and obviously looking forward to the weekend now,” McIlroy said.

Rory McIlroy fired a shot at the Italian Open with an aggressive approaching shot that was worth the adventure.

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Rory McIlroy fired a shot at the Italian Open with an aggressive approaching shot that was worth the adventure.

Rory McIlroy fired a shot at the Italian Open with an aggressive approaching shot that was worth the adventure.

“I shorted myself a few times today and was able to play some good shots to get myself out of this situation and dig the punches afterwards.”

McIlroy and Fitzpatrick’s level at the Ryder Cup stadium next year means they will be in the final group for Round Three on Saturday, with action starting at 12:30pm on Sky Sports Golf.

“Fitz has had an incredible year, (won) his first major and has really matured into one of the best players in the world. I’m looking forward to playing him here at the weekend.”

Fitzpatrick had to complete the last three holes of his first round on Friday after Thursday’s weather delays and made two birds and one bogey to complete the opening 65.

Julian Koesen produced a holeshot on the 185-yard fourth hole at the Italian Open on day two.

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Julian Koesen produced a holeshot on the 185-yard fourth hole at the Italian Open on day two.

Julian Koesen produced a holeshot on the 185-yard fourth hole at the Italian Open on day two.

The world number 11 then started his second round at a back nine and broke out in 10th, but followed that up with a five straight birdie to open a four-shot lead.

However, Fitzpatrick dropped the picks on the 16th and 17th and made his first equivalent of the day on the 18th, before covering the front nine on par with two sparrows and two bogeys for 69.

“Really inconsistent,” Fitzpatrick summed up his day.

“I’ve played some really good things, (made) some dirty mistakes which were obviously disappointing but a lot of sparrows, which have always been positive. Going to the weekend in the position I’m in, I’m very happy.”

England’s Tom Lewis and Terrell Hutton both hit the number 65 to lie seven and five, respectively.

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September 17, 2022 at 12:30 p.m.

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Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald, who will lead Europe’s bid to reclaim the cup at the same venue next year, is also five-under-68, including a penalty kick for playing the wrong ball.

Donald was below level three for the day the crash occurred on the seventh hole of the day, resulting in a stealth triple seven.

“I did something I don’t think I’ve done in golf,” the former world number one explained. “I hit the wrong ball at 16 which is frustrating.

“I hit a weak shot on a tee that was left in the rough. The spotter went straight to the ball and I assumed it was mine and mine was just a few feet away from it. It was a cost of seven.”

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