SPORTS

Nor’n Irishman leads the Masters as stars falter

TAGs: golf, Rory McIlroy, US Masters

US Masters gets underwaySt Patrick’s Day might be long gone but as with the first day of a number of the major golf Championships the luck o’ de Nor’n Irish lives on.

Rory McIlroy, at 21-years, is at the age where time is on his side so that if he simply leads for the first day of a major Championship and then decides to have a WKD-fuelled party for the rest of the weekend for the next ten years it won’t matter a shilling. As the ambitious player that he is that’s unlikely to be enough for the latest bright young thing to come from the British Isles.

He’s seven under par here at the Masters and has a share of the lead with Spaniard Alvaro Quiros. It follows a summer that saw him tie the course record at the great St Andrew’s Course, in the ancestral base of Calvin Ayre, Scotland, only to make a right pig’s ear of the rest of the weekend, still finishing tied third.

Unfortunately the Northern Irishman’s exploits on the course are likely to be overshadowed by the media circus surrounding the biggest cat to currently grace the golfing circuit.

Tigers live for 10-15 years in the wild meaning by that reckoning Woods’ time is well and truly up. If only Eldrick Tont Woods had stayed in capitivity. It could have all been so different!

After, for the third time in his career, reinventing his swing, the American may look slightly rusty. At -1 on the first day he’s still in with a chance and that’s not even considering how much he already outscores young Rory in the womanizing stakes.

In terms of the sports betting industry all eyes are currently on Japanese pro Ryo Ishikawa who could end up costing the guys over at Victor Chandler some serious pound sterling by the end of the weekend.

Ishikawa is himself donating all his tournament earnings from this year to the relief effort in Japan, with VC promising to donate all losing stakes on a number of markets. In addition Victor has agreed to give up £100 per Birdie and £250 per Eagle that the Japanese player manages. So far Victor has only had to give up £400 but you can imagine that this will grow as the weekend goes on.

Of the other favorites, Phil Mickelson is fairly well placed just ahead of Woods at -1, with Lee Westwood further back at even par in what looks like it will be another disappointing week for the Englishman.

Every dog does have its day and this could be McIlroy’s time to shine. Although dogs aren’t really much cop up against tigers. Just saying.

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