July 26, 2019 / 11:36 PM / 4 months ago

Heavy hitters Koepka, McIlroy poised to pounce at St. Jude

(Reuters) - Four-times major champions Brooks Koepka and Rory McIlroy have not quite fired on all cylinders at the WGC-St. Jude Invitational, but still lurked within striking distance of halfway leader Matthew Fitzpatrick in Memphis on Friday.

Jul 26, 2019; Memphis, TN, USA; Brooks Koepka lines up his birdie putt on the 11th hole during the second round of the FedEx St. Jude Classic golf tournament at TPC Southwind. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Koepka finally saw a few putts drop and carded a second round three-under 67 that left him four shots behind at TPC Southwind, equal seventh.

McIlroy also shot 67, despite some loose iron play. He trailed by five strokes.

World number one Koepka could not buy a putt at the British Open last week despite finishing tied for fourth, but he is feeling more at home this week on faster greens.

“I’ve putted really good last week and this week. Today they just decided to drop,” the American told Golf Channel.

“It’s always good when you see some go in early, build some confidence and get it rolling.

“It’s nice to get on some fast greens. These greens are so good anything inside 10 feet you should be making.”

For McIlroy, however, birdie chances from inside 10 feet were few and far between. He had just one to be precise, a three-footer at the par-five 16th that he duly sank.

“I’m hitting it pretty good off the tee but as I get closer to the green it’s been a bit of a struggle the last two days, so

going to try to clean that up over the weekend,” he said.

The Northern Irishman is trying to bounce back after missing the cut at the British Open at Royal Portrush in his homeland.

“Position wise it’s very bunched, so I’m sort of right there,” he said.

“Play a solid round tomorrow and I should have a good chance on Sunday.”

Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Ian Ransom

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