“I’m certainly not afraid of it”

Rory McIlroy is ready to give Horizon Irish Open leaders Shubhankar Sharma and Jordan Smith a run for the lead. The World No.2, who had a moderate start to the event at The K Club, was nine shots off the lead after Friday’s round 2. Despite being way back on the leaderboard, McIlroy is confident on making it to the top over the weekend.

The Irishman’s hard-fought 70 left him tied for 26th on five-under-par. He sat alongside Kilkenny’s Mark Power on the leaderboard. However, the ace golfer’s competition is still Sharma and Smith, who sat atop. Commenting on the task in his hand of taking down the leaders in 36 holes, the 34-year-old said that he’s “certainly not afraid of it.”

Rory McIlroy said, as quoted by the Independent:

“I’m certainly not afraid of it. I’d rather be a few shots closer. But you know, I need to go out in the morning and shoot a low one and put the ball in play off the tee and give myself opportunities from the fairway. And if I do that and just get a few putts to drop, then there’s low scores to be had on this golf course, especially in foggy conditions.”

It is pertinent to note that overnight leader Sharma could run away with the championship. The Indian golfer looks well in form compared to the rest of the competition. However, England’s Smith, who played his first 15 holes in eight-under, briefly passed him putting some pressure on the leader.

Exuding confidence in the game, Rory McIlroy noted that he doesn’t “have to do any pushing” and just “get the ball in play off the tee” to contend for the lead.

Rory McIlroy gets massive reception from fans at the Irish Open

The crowd is loving McIlroy in Ireland. The 16-time DP World Tour winner received a huge ovation as he entered the K Club’s Palmer North Course for the Horizon Irish Open Round 2. The golfer, one of the most beloved golfers of our time, was welcomed by a huge number of fans eagerly awaiting to witness their local hero in action.

The 34-year-old entered the course to large applause breaks and shouts of ‘Rory!’ Needless to say, the golfer’s confidence seemed to skyrocket with the cheers from the crowd. It is noteworthy that Rory McIlroy is currently playing in an Irish premier golf event for the first time since 2021.

Despite having competed in the event 13 times since making his debut here in 2005 as an amateur, the PGA Tour star has won it only once. The ace golfer emerged victorious in 2016 after shooting 12-under. Interestingly, the win came the same year the event changed its venue to The K Club.

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