Rory McIlroy on course for Grand Slam victory


Rory McIlroy on course for Grand Slam victory
Rory McIlroy produced a stunning back nine display to share the first-day lead at the PGA Grand Slam of Golf in Bermuda.

The US Open winner, competing against the three other major winners of 2011, carded four birdies in the last nine holes to finish on four-under-par, level with US PGA champion Keegan Bradley.

McIlroy, 22, is aiming to become the youngest ever winner of the coveted 36-hole, two-day event - and the first European to do so since Ian Woosnam in 1991, despite a punishing schedule in the last three weeks.

Since leaving the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on October 2nd, the Northern Irishman has flown from Scotland to Seoul to Shanghai and played in seven cities in seven days before arriving in Bermuda after a 20-hour flight.

He said: "I feel OK though you never know when I might fall asleep - my head could be in my soup at dinner. Seriously, I was wide awake at five-thirty this morning so I went to the gym for an hour and then had a 30-minute run."

Describing his poor form on the greens early on, McIlroy remarked: "It was getting a little bit frustrating because I was reading them and every time, I felt as if I was hitting the putt on the line I wanted to but it was just going nowhere near the hole.

"The greens that I have been putting on the last couple of weeks have been a little different to the greens here.

"I had not really been factoring in the grain as much but it plays a huge part on these greens. I finished really, really well so, to draw level after the first day was nice."

Bradley, who won US PGA Championship in August in his first major appearance, shot a brilliant 30 on the front nine to lead by four strokes.

He then stretched that lead to five early on the back nine until a pair of bogeys and McIlroy's brilliance pegged him back.

Masters champion Charl Schwartzel shot a 74 and Open winner Darren Clarke slumped to a 77, scores which mean both will struggle to keep pace with their opponents today (October 19th).

Clarke confessed he has been struggling with his game since that superb victory at Royal Sandwich in July.

"I've not hit the ball very good since the Open Championship," he revealed. "I saw a couple of things in my swing I didn't like and which I tried to fix. It seems to have gone the other way. I didn't come all this way to play that badly and it is very disappointing."

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