McIlroy shows iron will after carding quadruple-bogey on horror 10th hole in Ohio

McIlroy shows iron will after carding quadruple-bogey on horror 10th hole in Ohio

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UPDATED:

23:47 GMT, 31 May 2012

Rory McIlroy appeared well on his way to turning a blip into a crisis when he scored a quadruple-bogey seven, his worst ever score on a single hole on the US Tour, in his first round of Jack Nicklaus’s Memorial Tournament.

How about that for the worst possible start when seeking to bounce back after two successive missed halfway cuts, with the defence of your US Open title less than a fortnight away

Back in the swing: Rory McIlroy recovered well from his seven on a par three

Back in the swing: Rory McIlroy recovered well from his seven on a par three

Starting from the 10th on a picture perfect morning in Ohio, the Northern Irishman began decently enough with a couple of pars. But a pulled tee shot into the back bunker at the par-three 12th left him badly out of position and sparked a litany of errors.

On the hole modelled on the short 12th at Augusta, McIlroy’s bunker shot was over-hit and finished in the water hazard at the front of the green. Now he had to walk back over the bridge from whence he came to the drop zone, where his recovery finished in a bunker at the front of the green. An average sand shot was followed by an equally mediocre putt, leaving him to hole a four-footer simply to avoid an eight.

So what do you think happened next Anyone plumbing the same murky depths as the internet trolls would have expected him to fold up his tent and move along quietly, in the direction of his next event in Memphis.

What actually occurred was a visible demonstration of the pride of the world No 2. In last position after three holes, McIlroy bounced back so spiritedly he finished up with a one-under-par score of 71 to finish on the same mark as playing partner Luke Donald, one stroke behind Tiger Woods, playing in the group behind.

Playing partners: Luke Donald and McIlroy on the 10th

Playing partners: Luke Donald and McIlroy on the 10th

The highlight came at the par-five fifth, where his second shot finished just short of the green and he chipped in for an eagle three. ‘Walking off the third green at four over par I was thinking, “Here we go again”,’ said McIlroy. ‘But I hung in well and I’m proud of the way I fought back.’

Asked afterwards about his rivalry with world No 1 Donald, McIlroy added: ‘I’ve got an awful lot of other things on my mind at the moment, like hitting fairways and greens again, and I saw some good signs today. Now it’s time for another afternoon on the practice range, to tease out some of the bad faults that have crept in.’

Donald’s round was not without its wayward shots either. He hit it into the water at the 18th but, like McIlroy, rebounded well on his back nine. It’s never easy playing the following week after a big win and the Englishman admitted his ball striking was poor by his standards. As so often, though, his golden putting touch came to the rescue for a score that leaves him firmly in contention.

The long walk: McIlroy recovered from a quadruple bogey to end the day on one under

The long walk: McIlroy recovered from a quadruple-bogey to end the day on one under

‘Hopefully that is my loose round out of the way, because I didn’t hit the ball well,’ said the 34-year-old, who successfully defended the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth last week. ‘But I scrambled very well and I am certainly happy with my total.’

Woods was happy, too, after his 70 kept him in the running.

Rival Phil Mickelson fared less well, however, withdrawing from the event citing mental fatigue following a shocking 79, his worst round at Muirfield Village.

Leading the way was fellow American Scott Stallings, who shot 66 to finish the first round at a highly-impressive six-under.

French Open 2012: Heather Watson beaten by Julia Goerges

Watson dumped out at Roland Garros as Goerges proves a step too far for Brit

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UPDATED:

19:50 GMT, 31 May 2012

Heather Watson's French Open run came to an end in the second round with a 6-3 6-4 defeat at the hands of powerful 25th seed Julia Goerges.

Like last year, the 20-year-old Watson won three matches in qualifying and then her first-round clash as well, this time beating Russia's Elena Vesnina in fine style at Roland Garros.

Goerges was a real step up in class, though, the 23-year-old German having climbed as high as 15th in the rankings earlier this season and reached the final at the WTA Tour event in Dubai.

Beaten: Heather Watson serves in her second round match at Roland Garros

Beaten: Heather Watson serves in her second round match at Roland Garros

Watson made a perfect start, breaking the Goerges serve in the opening game, but from there she lost three games in a row, the remodelled serve that was so good against Vesnina struggling to find its mark.

Goerges' game plan of going for broke whenever possible was making it hard for Watson to get any rhythm, and the noise from the latest John Isner marathon on neighbouring Court Philippe Chatrier was certainly not helping.

Powerful: Julia Goerges was too tough an opponent for Watson

Powerful: Julia Goerges was too tough an opponent for Watson

The German continued to mix blazing winners with errors, but she was consistent enough to take the first set, and she then moved 2-0 ahead in the second.

But Watson is a battler and back she came, levelling matters at 2-2 only to lose her serve again in the seventh game with a fifth double fault.

The young Briton was trading much better with Goerges now but she came up just short, shanking her return on match point and smashing her racquet on the clay in frustration.

Usain Bolt storms to win in Rome and clocks fastest time this year

Bolt strikes again! Usain storms to win in Rome and clocks fastest time this year

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UPDATED:

20:26 GMT, 31 May 2012

Triple Olympic champion Usain Bolt has banished the memories of his go-slow in Ostrava with a commanding victory in Rome.

Bolt had struggled to victory in a time of 10.04 seconds on Friday, the first time since a rainswept night in Toronto in 2009 that he had failed to break 10 seconds outside a heat or semi-final.

The Jamaican shrugged off the race as an off-day, prescribing himself more food and sleep after arriving in Italy in a bid to regain power in his legs.

Making his point: Usain Bolt wins the 100m at the Diamond League meeting in Rome

Making his point: Usain Bolt wins the 100m at the Diamond League meeting in Rome

And that appeared to have been the recipe for success as the 25-year-old overcame another sluggish start to power to victory in 9.76secs, the fastest time in the world this year and a meeting record.

Former world record holder Asafa Powell was second in 9.91s, with European champion Christopher Lemaitre third in 10.04.

No catching him: Bolt (second right) clocked the fastest time in the world this year at the Stadio Olimpico

No catching him: Bolt (second right) clocked the fastest time in the world this year at the Stadio Olimpico

Asked if he was relieved after that performance, Bolt said: 'I would say yes, slightly.

'I knew I could do it but since I've been in Europe I've not been sleeping regularly so after Ostrava I decided that I would make sure I start going to bed early. I felt extememly well, extremely great today, so it's coming back and I feel good.'

As for the pressure on his shoulders leading up to the defence of his Olympic titles in London, he added: 'People expect me to do well at all times and I expect that of myself also, so it's not really a question for me, it's just one of fun and enjoyment.

Familiar sight: Bolt strikes his famous celebratory pose after impressing in Italy

Familiar sight: Bolt strikes his famous celebratory pose after impressing in Italy

'I came out here tonight not to prove anything to the world, but tell myself that I've still got it and I'm working my way from here.'

The performance of the night from a British perspective came from Robbie Grabarz, who won the high jump with a new personal best of 2.33m which takes him top of the world rankings in 2012.

Big show: Bolt was driven round the stadium ahead of his race at the Diamond League Meeting in Rome

Big show: Bolt was driven round the stadium ahead of his race at the Diamond League Meeting in Rome

Grabarz lost his lottery funding at the end of a poor season in 2011, but that forced him to rededicate himself to the sport and it paid dividends tonight as he cleared each height at the first attempt until failing to clear 2.35m.

'I achieved what I set out to achieve,' the 24-year-old said. 'I have been jumping very well in training but been trying to keep a lid on it. That's why I started my season so late.'