Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka are excited for what shapes as being an enthralling final-round battle at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.

McIlroy fired an eight-under 62 at TPC Southwind on Saturday to grab a one-stroke lead over world number one Koepka.

The duo played together during the opening two rounds and they will be the final pairing on Sunday, something they are both looking forward to.

"It is exciting. Brooks is the number one player in the world, four majors in the last three years," McIlroy said.

"He's the man right now. I got to play with him the first couple days and I enjoyed it. I enjoyed seeing what he can do."

McIlroy tops a star-studded leaderboard ahead of Koepka after missing the cut at The Open, where the American finished tied for fourth.

Koepka believes McIlroy, who has two wins this year, will be hard to stop in the final round.

"It will be fun. Rory's playing some good golf, especially with the start he got off to," he said.

"Played with him the first two days. The way he struck it was really impressive. He's putting well and you know he's going to be tough to beat."

Rory McIlroy fired an impressive eight-under 62 to move into a one-shot lead at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational on Saturday.

McIlroy, who missed the cut at The Open, holed nine birdies and just one bogey during his third round at TPC Southwind, moving into 12 under and top of a leaderboard featuring many contending stars.

The Northern Irishman made five birdies on the front nine, including three straight beginning at the seventh in Memphis, Tennessee.

McIlroy had a slight setback on the par-four 12th but recovered well with four more birdies on his last five holes, including a successful 27-foot birdie putt on 18 to take the outright lead.

However, if McIlroy wants his third win of the year he will have to hold off a surging field trailing closely behind him.

Brooks Koepka moved into second place at 11 under and 36-hole leader Matt Fitzpatrick is a shot further back.

Marc Leishman (63), Alex Noren (66) and Jon Rahm (68) are tied for fourth at nine under, a shot ahead of Ian Poulter (67), Thorbjorn Olesen (65) and Billy Horschel (69).

Leishman produced a chip in off the green for an eagle at the par-five 16th hole.

Justin Thomas (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (65) climbed up the leaderboard to join Webb Simpson (68) and Bubba Watson (68) in a tie for 10th place at seven under.

Meanwhile, Dustin Johnson was again unable to get going, shooting a third straight one-under 69 to be tied for 26th.

Kim Hyo-joo took a one-shot lead into the final day of the Evian Championship after a fine six-under round on Saturday, leading a pack of South Koreans at the top of the leaderboard.

Kim was not quite at the standard she set in 2014, when she became champion and produced a record round of 61 when she was only 19, but did enough to seize control of the major.

Only Ariya Jutanugarn posted a better score on moving day, the Thai equalling the best round of the week with a seven-under 64.

Nevertheless, Kim's advantage on 15 under is by no means unassailable, as Park Sung-hyun is just a shot behind having carded a 66 on day three.

Fellow South Koreans Ko Jin-young and seven-time major winner Inbee Park are a further three strokes adrift in a tie for third, with the latter suggesting the local terrain in plays into the hands of her compatriots.

"I really think this course suits Korean players, because all the golf courses in Korea are built in the mountains," she said.

"We are really used to the undulations and the lies we get."

Park Sung-hyun moved into first at the turn after holing out from the bunker for eagle, but Kim finished stronger, getting birdies on 13, 14, 16 and 17, helping her make up for two bogeys in her first four holes.

Lee Mi-hyang went into the day with the lead but carded her worst round of the major, finishing level par at 71 to sit five off the top and tied for fifth with China's Shanshan Feng.

The action began early on Saturday due to weather warnings and that move ensured everyone got around just in time, with a storm unloading shortly after play finished.

However, Sunday looks set for interruptions, with rain forecast for much of the day.

Matthew Fitzpatrick claimed a two-stroke lead after the second round of the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.

Fitzpatrick climbed 12 spots to the top of the leaderboard with a six-under-par 64 in Memphis on Friday.

His round was highlighted by four consecutive birdies at the start, and he had just one hiccup with a bogey on the par-three 8th hole.

Fitzpatrick finished with seven total birdies as he heads into the weekend at nine under through 36 holes.

Close behind Fitzpatrick in second place is Jon Rahm (71), who is in a four-way tie alongside Patrick Cantlay (68), Cameron Smith (68) and Billy Horschel at seven under following day two.

After a mistake-free first round (62), Rahm had four bogeys on Friday. He did finish with back-to-back birdies on the 16th and 17th holes to stay close to the front.

Horschel (66) had the best round of the bunch in contention and used an eagle on the par-five third hole to jump up the standings.

Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Bubba Watson are four shots off the pace ahead of Saturday's third round.

Koepka had four birdies and a bogey for a second-round 67, while Rose posted a 68 and Watson recorded a 70.

Former world number one Rory McIlroy shot a three-under-par 67 to be four under overall, a shot ahead of defending champion Justin Thomas (69).

Dustin Johnson – the 2016 winner – recorded back-to-back 69s to be seven strokes behind Fitzpatrick, while Jordan Spieth's consecutive 70s left him even par at the halfway stage.

Defending champion Puerto Rico successfully defended their title at the 32nd Caribbean Amateur Junior Golf Championship played at the Albany Golf Course in Nassau, The Bahamas, from July 24 - 26.

Lee Mi-hyang heads a South Korean-dominated leaderboard at the halfway stage of the Evian Championship after first-round leader Paula Creamer fell from contention with a nightmare Friday outing.

Creamer shot a superb 64 on Thursday at Evian-les-Bains but the former U.S. Women's Open champion's latest major bid hit trouble as she carded a five-over 76.

She is tied 24th on two under overall, despite not dropping a shot for her first 30 holes of the competition. A missed six-foot putt for par on 13 on the other side of a one-hour lightning delay set in motion a dismal run that saw Creamer play the final six holes in seven over.

Lee and her compatriots were the main beneficiaries – the 26-year-old ending her round birdie, birdie, eagle in stark contrast to Creamer.

That meant a 67 to go alongside Thursday's 65 and 10 under through 36, although there is plenty of major-winning pedigree in the chasing pack just one shot back.

World number one Park Sung-hyun has compiled rounds of four and five under, while Kim Hyo-joo – winner in her first major at the Evian Championship back in 2014 – shot 64

Seven-time major winner Inbee Park completes the group of three Koreans on nine under.

China's Shanshan Feng has similarly carded two rounds in the sixties to lie fifth on seven under. Sweden's Caroline Hedwall was the only player to match Kim's seven under on Friday and is one of six on six under going into moving day.

Further forecasted storms on Saturday have seen third-round starting tee times brought forward to 07:00 (local time) off the first and 10th tees.

Jon Rahm revealed he felt "dead" in the lead up to the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational before opening with an impressive eight-under 62.

The Spaniard opened up a three-stroke lead after the first round at TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tennessee on Thursday.

But Rahm, searching for his first WGC win, said he was exhausted ahead of the tournament, leaving him playing the front nine at the course for the first time during the opening round.

"I can tell you getting to the first tee today [Thursday] was the first time I stepped on that nine," he said.

"I didn't see my back nine today at all before today. I didn't do anything Monday or Tuesday, I just rested and stretched at the hotel.

"Yesterday I came with the plan of playing 18 holes. I putted and warmed up, and after four holes, I teed off on 10, I think that was when I got to 14 or 15, I was dead. I couldn't swing properly. I was really tired, so I just decided to finish the round of nine holes, eat and just putt a little bit and go."

Despite the unusual preparation, Rahm holed eight birdies in his first round, including five from holes one to eight – his back nine.

The 24-year-old said the way he set himself up led to his superb start as he took a three-shot lead over Patrick Cantlay, Bubba Watson, Cameron Smith, Hideki Matsuyama and Shugo Imahira.

"The key to all those birdies, my position on the greens was really good," Rahm said.

"I was able to not really go at the pins every single time, but I was able to make myself putts that for the most part I felt with very little break ... if I could do that every day of the year, that would be amazing."

Jon Rahm used a brilliant opening round to grab a three-stroke lead at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational on Thursday.

Rahm, who is fresh off a tied for 11th finish at The Open, shot an eight-under 62 with five of his eight birdies coming on his back nine at TPC Southwind.

What was more impressive was his putting as Rahm missed just one putt inside 25 feet during the first round in Memphis, Tennessee. He was a perfect five for five from 15-20 feet.

The Spaniard, still looking for his first WGC win, tied the low round of his PGA Tour career.

But, he has a star-studded field behind him.

There is a five-way tie for second place at five under, with Hideki Matsuyama and Bubba Watson joined by Patrick Cantlay, Cameron Smith and Shugo Imahira.

Watson's round featured a birdie on his final hole after bogeys on the par-four 10th and 13th holes.

Behind them is a sizable group of Ian Poulter, Thorbjorn Olesen and Tyrrell Hatton, among others, a shot further back.

Justin Rose, Bryson DeChambeau and Billy Horschel are in a five-way tie for 13th at three under and in good position to move up the leaderboard on Friday.

Jordan Spieth nearly joined the top of the leaderboard after five birdies and just one bogey through 11 holes.

But the American then carded two triple bogeys, making seven at the 12th and 15th holes before finishing with an even-par 70.

World number one Brooks Koepka made a fine start with a 68, while Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson opened with 69s.

Paula Creamer carded a superb 64 to lead the way after the opening round of the Evian Championship.

Former U.S. Women's Open champion Creamer was not put off by the heat in France, as she kept her cool with seven birdies in a bogey-free round.

Creamer claimed the Evian Masters title aged 18 in 2005, though she has not led in a major since the 2010 U.S. Women's Open at Oakmont, and a wrist injury sustained in this competition in 2017 has seen her form drop, meaning she is now ranked 156 in the world.

Her lead is a slim one, however, with seven-time major winner Inbee Park - who is yet to triumph at Evian - among four players to have carded 65.

Ko Jin-young is one of those tied for second, and she looked in sharp form after winning the ANA Inspiration in April - a victory which saw her move to number one in the world rankings for 12 weeks.

Ko made eight birdies but bogeys on the second and 13th cost her the lead.

Ireland's Adare Manor course will stage the 2026 Ryder Cup, tournament organisers have announced.

The Ryder Cup was last hosted by Ireland in 2006, with Europe cruising to victory over the United States by nine points at The K Club.

And, after a memorable week for Irish golf saw Shane Lowry win the Open Championship at Royal Portrush, it has been revealed Ireland will host the showpiece tournament for a second time.

The County Limerick venue will follow on from the events played at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin (2020), Marco Simone in Italy (2022) and Bethpage Black in New York (2024).

Guy Kinnings, the European Ryder Cup director, insisted Lowry's Open victory only solidified the decision to take the competition back to Ireland.

"We are delighted to announce the 2026 Ryder Cup will be staged in Ireland at Adare Manor which is a world-class venue, both in terms of the golf course and the wider resort facilities," Kinnings said.

"Aside from having provided three captains over the past four editions, in addition to world-class talent such as Rory McIlroy, Irish players such as the late Christy O'Connor Jnr, Philip Walton, Eamonn Darcy, Graeme McDowell and Paul McGinley are intrinsically linked with providing Europe's winning moments over the years.

"Added to that the fact that Irish golf fans are rightly recognised as some of the most knowledgeable and passionate in the world, as was shown during Shane Lowry's emotional Open Championship triumph at Royal Portrush on Sunday, there was no question in our minds that the time was right."

The 2018 edition was held in France at Le Golf National, with Europe winning by seven points.

Adare Manor hosted the Irish Open in 2007 and 2008, and the JP McManus Pro-Am will be held at the venue in July 2020, with confirmed participants including Padraig Harrington, McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, Jon Rahm, Justin Rose and Tiger Woods.

Rory McIlroy is delighted Shane Lowry has not made it to Memphis this week as he wants his friend to carry on enjoying his Open triumph.

Ireland's newest major champion announced he would not make it to the WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational, which begins on Thursday.

And McIlroy, a long-time friend of the 32-year-old, has enjoyed seeing footage of Lowry touring Ireland and soaking in acclaim for his feat at Royal Portrush.

Lowry was feted in his hometown of Clara on Tuesday, celebrating with locals after his resounding victory over the border in Northern Ireland, and McIlroy predicted the golfer has secured "national hero" status.

"He text me on Friday night and gave me a couple of words of encouragement and said, 'I'll see you in Memphis'," said McIlroy, who missed the cut by a single shot.

"And I said, 'Well, I hope I don't see you in Memphis because hopefully you're still drinking out of the Claret Jug' and that obviously came to fruition, so that was nice.

"I text him straight after [his victory] and I sort of said to him, 'It's going to change your life'. You saw when he went to his hometown and the amount of people that came out to see him. It's a life-changer. Especially doing it there at Portrush, he's going to be a national hero for the rest of his life.

"I said to him, 'We're going to go out for dinner in New York during the Northern Trust [in August]. We'll have some celebratory drinks. I'm so happy for him. It's always great to see friends do so well.

"With Shane winning, it was a fairy tale ending. It was a great showcase for our country and from what I'm hearing hopefully The Open will go back to Portrush in hopefully the next eight to 10 years."

McIlroy, who starts the week at number three in the FedEx Cup standings and could go top with victory, is determined he will not be rusty on his long-awaited return to Memphis.

"It's been seven years since I played here. I was tied for the lead on the last tee box and hit one into the water and that put a halt to my chances," he recalled.

"It's good to be here. I'm looking forward to the week. It's a bit of a contrast considering the type of golf we've had to play the last two weeks back over in the UK.

"I've spent the last three days moving into a new house, so I didn't get much rest. I've been unpacking boxes - my wife did most of it. I haven't touched a club since Friday, so it was nice to get back out there today and play a little bit."

With just a year to go until the Olympics gets under way in Tokyo, athletes from all over the world already have gold medals in their sights.

Many are well on course to mount a strong challenge for glory, while others may consider themselves a long way from where they need to be.

With 12 months to go until the opening ceremony, excitement is building and over 3.2 million tickets have been sold.

We take a form check on five of the stars who could prove the big draws in Japan.

 

SIMONE BILES

Superstar Biles will retire from gymnastics after attempting to add to her medal tally in Tokyo.

Fitness permitting, it would be a surprise if the 22-year-old does not increase her haul of four Olympic golds and one bronze medal.

The American declared she will quit as "I feel like my body is kind of falling apart".

Biles put on another masterclass to win the women’s all-around title at the GK U.S. Classic last Saturday and eyebrows will be raised if she does not achieve more podium-topping success in her swan-song Games.

ADAM PEATY

Exceptional British swimmer Peaty continues to hit new heights, shattering world records and winning gold medals galore.

It was mission accomplished in the 24-year-old's quest to achieve 'Project 56' at the World Championships in Gwangju this month when he became the first person to dip under the 57-second barrier for the 100 metres breaststroke.

That record swim of 56.88secs ticked off one of Peaty's biggest goals and he has by no means finished yet.

The Englishman has raised his total of World Championships titles to six and the Olympic 100m breaststroke champion will be expected to be on the top step of the podium at least once in Tokyo.

 

CASTER SEMENYA

The Olympics might not be at the forefront of all-conquering South African athlete Semenya's mind at the moment.

Semenya has endured a complicated, drawn-out saga in a case involving world governing body the IAAF which has raised worries for her career.

The double Olympic 800 metres champion is awaiting a Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland verdict over whether she can continue to run against women over two laps of the track.

Semenya has long been challenging the IAAF's decision to impose restrictions on testosterone levels in women competing at distances ranging from 400m to one mile. The Swiss court has suspended that restriction for now.

Semenya's testosterone count is high but naturally occurring. It could see her sidelined if she refuses to take medication to reduce her level, unless the courts come down on her side.

The 28-year-old has not let the ongoing case affect her performances, setting the fastest 800m time by a woman on American soil of one minute and 55.70 seconds at the Diamond League meeting in Stanford last month.

 

CHRISTIAN COLEMAN

What is certain at the Games next year is that the men's 100m athletics gold is up for grabs, in the absence of Usain Bolt.

Bolt retired after the World Championships in London two years ago with eight Olympic gold medals to his name.

It is not the Jamaican legend's old rival Justin Gatlin - Olympic champion in 2004 - who is rated as the favourite to take Bolt's crown next year.

World champion Gatlin's fellow American Christian Coleman appears to be the man to beat, leading the way in the Diamond League and establishing himself as the top-ranked male sprinter on the planet.

 

RORY MCILROY

McIlroy was criticised for stating he would not watch the return of golf to the Olympic calendar three years ago in Rio, after opting out of the competition.

The four-time major champion cited the Zika virus as his reason for not teeing off in Brazil, where Justin Rose won the first Olympic golf event for 112 years.

However, Northern Irishman McIlroy stated he could not pass up the opportunity to be an Olympian next time around.

The former world number one will be hoping it is a case of 'what a difference a year makes' in terms of his summer form, having failed to make the cut at The Open in his homeland at Royal Portrush last week.

New Open champion Shane Lowry revealed he used to cry himself to sleep out of despair at his golf as he was welcomed home by thousands of fans and well-wishers in County Offaly.

The 32-year-old returned to his home town of Clara on Tuesday, two days after becoming Ireland's latest major champion.

The Clara GAA Club hosted the event as Lowry paraded the famous Claret Jug before celebrating into the night.

The famous silverware has been dubbed locally as the 'Clara Jug', and a packed field of supporters included family and friends of Lowry.

Speaking on stage, Lowry spoke of how his golfing career has not always been a success story, and it was wife Wendy's support that gave him strength to fight on.

He said: "There's been a lot of ups and downs over the last few years and I went through a fairly rough patch that finished about 10 or 12 months ago.

"People see all this and [they think] this is unbelievable and this is what it's like, but it's not really like this.

"There's plenty of times when I've been at home in my house in Dublin and I've been crying myself to sleep. You don't know if you're good enough, you don't know if you can keep going.

"When you have a good, strong woman behind you, it makes it a little bit easier."

Open champion Shane Lowry has withdrawn from the St. Jude Invitational.

Lowry ended his wait for a maiden major title with a stunning performance at Royal Portrush, winning by six strokes.

Following his achievement at the links course in Northern Ireland, the 32-year-old has opted to skip this week's PGA Tour event.

Lowry's win saw him move up to 18th in the FedEx Cup standings but, by withdrawing from the field at TPC Southwind, he forfeits the chance to move further up the leaderboard.

Brooks Koepka, who finished tied fourth at Portrush, leads the way going into the St. Jude.

Dustin Johnson won by six strokes in Memphis last year.

Gary Player is backing Rory McIlroy to bounce back from his desperately disappointing display at the Open Championship, believing the Northern Irishman will learn from the experience.

Much was expected of home hopeful McIlroy at Royal Portrush last week, but a quadruple bogey at the first set the tone for a miserable opening round as he carded a 79.

Despite a recovery on Friday, the four-time major champion fell one stroke short of the cut line and bowed out before the weekend.

But while a lot has been said and written about McIlroy's dismal start and end to his first 18 - finishing with a triple bogey at the last - Player sees another lesson in the day's play.

McIlroy three-putted from inside five feet for a double bogey at 16 and, had he kept his composure, victory would still have been a possibility, according to three-time Open champion Player.

Regardless, the South African sees McIlroy, still just 30, soon ending a wait for a major title that goes back to 2014.

"When you're as prominent a player as Rory and something happens, everybody is quick to be critical, as people are in life," Player told Omnisport, speaking at The Berenberg Gary Player Invitational.

"He learned a very good lesson, because he didn't buckle down on two short putts and missed them and then ended up missing the cut by one shot.

"If he'd made the cut, he could have gone on to win the tournament because you're talking about one of the three most talented men in the world today. I'm a big Rory fan.

"He made a mistake, so what? Is there anybody who plays golf that hasn't? No, I've never seen that happen.

"He's won four majors already, which is remarkable. He just won the Canadian Open with 20-something [22] under par.

"People are very quick to give an opinion. He'll go on to win a lot more majors and tournaments. He's tremendously talented."

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