Range session sends McIlroy soaring towards victory

An hour following Friday’s second round on the East Lake practice range, and under the watchful eye of long-time coach Michael Bannon, was enough to send Rory McIlroy soaring to within two shots of the lead heading into the final round of the season-ending Tour Championship.

McIlroy blasted his way to an equal championship low of the week, a four under par 66, for a six under par tally and just two shots behind American Dustin Johnson.

Johnson still has one hand on the 2016 FedEx Cup trophy but finds himself tied with compatriot Kevin Chappell who shot a 68 compared to Johnson’s 69.

But if McIlroy were to win the Tour Championship and Johnson finished, at best, tied second then McIlroy would claim not only the Atlanta first prize of $1.5m but the additional $10m FedEx Cup bonus prize.

McIlroy set-up a hopeful second playoff victory in three events on the back of hitting 17 of 18 greens in regulation around the tree-lined East Lake course.

That was all down to his work post Friday’s score of 70 with Bannon and the PGA Tour later advising five of McIlroy’s 11 Tour stroke-play wins have come when the Northern Irishman was not leading.

“I just got a little bit out of sync with my upper body and lower body, and it definitely helped the hour or so I spent on the range last night,” he said.

“It’s nice to have Michael (Bannon) here this week for him to have a look at it and take some video and analyzing what I’m doing. That range session definitely helped last night.”

“It showed today. I hit 17 of 18 greens and didn’t make many mistakes. So much better golf swing today, and I think that obviously is related to what I did last night on the range.”

“We worked on basically mid irons. I missed a lot of greens yesterday with sort of a 9 iron, 6 iron, 5 iron. I was basically just trying to straighten it out. Upper body was getting a little bit fast, a little bit ahead of my lower body.”

“And I was sort of lagging behind. Out in front of me but lagging behind, which I hadn’t done before.”

“So I was trying to sync everything up a little better.”

Overall it has been a tale of two nines for the four-time Major winner as heading into day three McIlroy was 12 shots better on the back nine this week at 7-under par compared to the front nine where he was five-over par.

But that all changed today.