Ireland’s McIlroy, McDowell go clear at World Cup

Ireland’s Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell moved two strokes clear at the World Cup on Saturday and savoured the prospect of adding their names to an illustrious list of previous winners.

The pair gelled superbly to record eight birdies, including three in succession from the fifth hole, to record an eight-under par 64 and improve their score to 21 under on the Blackstone course.

Matt Kuchar and Gary Woodland of the US, South African pair Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen and the German duo of Martin Kaymer and Alex Cejka share second on 19-under par.

“It would be incredible for G-Mac [McDowell] and myself to be able to add our names to the list of names and countries on the trophy, the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Ben Hogan and Sam Snead,” McIlroy to reporters.

“They’re just two American teams and feature four of the best players ever to play the game. So to be able to put your name on a trophy alongside their names would be something special.”

‘Best friends’
McDowell shared his countryman’s sentiments.

“I completely agree with Rory because the legends of the game have won this trophy and to go out there with one of your best friends and experience the highs and lows of this game and hopefully it will be a high tomorrow [Sunday], is going to be special,” he said.

Ireland, who have won the Cup twice before, led by a stroke with a round to play two years ago but were beaten into second place by Italy.

The US team recorded an eight under par 63 while Germany and South Africa had 11-under 61s. The last Americans to win the title was Tiger Woods and David Duval in 2000 in Argentina.

“Today [Saturday] was a great day for us and we ham-and-egged pretty well, Woodland told reporters.

“It was really nice when I was struggling that Matt picked me up and I could make some putts on the back nine.

“But we now have a chance and it’s going to be an exciting final day but with so many good teams up there we are going to have to try and be aggressive and make some birdies.

The Australian team of Brendan Jones and Richard Green birdied the opening two holes but struggled mid-round to record a 67 and fall back to 18-under par. — Reuters

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