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Rory McIlroy back in the swing after breaking bad habits


Winless thus far this season Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood are converging on happiness at the Wells Fargo Championship. Overnight leader McIlroy needed a back-nine recovery to stabilise his challenge with a 71 after starting with a bogey.

Westwood had a share of the lead before finding water at the seventh hole (his 16th). The bogey stalled his march but a 68 took him alongside McIlroy on six under par and with a shot at the winner’s enclosure tomorrow. Last year Westwood enjoyed his best weekend at Quail Hollow shooting 68 and 66 to finish fifth. A repeat could well see him home in his first event as a 40-year-old.

McIlroy said his ball striking is as good as it has been all year after correcting a minor swing issue spotted at Augusta. “It was only a tiny little thing but it’s made a good difference. I think it’s big strides because my game wasn’t where it should have been at all at the start of the year,” he said.

“I got into a couple of bad habits on my swing, and it just took me a little bit of time to get out of them. Week by week it’s been getting better. I played well at Augusta, apart from a five-hole stretch on the Saturday, and had a shot at San Antonio the week before. Now that I feel like I’m swinging it well, this is the sort of golf I expect to play.”

Twelve-year-old Chinese prodigy Ye Wocheng’s debut on the European Tour ended with a second successive 79 at the Volvo China Open. “I played very well on the front nine, so I was very happy at the beginning,” said Ye, the youngest to ever contest a European Tour event.

“I was a bit less nervous today, which is why I played well at the start. But then on the back nine I struggled a little bit, which was a bit disappointing. Overall I’m still pretty happy with how I played.

“Golf is a hard game to play at this level of competition and on these courses, but I feel I will soon be ready for it. I’m looking forward to the next time I can play out here.”

There was better news for 16-year-old Dou Ze-Cheng, who shot a 72 to make the cut, the seventh youngest to do so on the European Tour, and the youngest at this tournament.