• Big guns seek to get back on track at Travelers

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    HARTFORD, United States: Rory McIlroy will be making just his third start since the Masters as the Northern Irishman tries to kick start his game this week at the PGA Tour’s Travelers Championship.

    Less than a week after the finish of the 2017 US Open a star-studded field will tee it up at the TPC River Highlands course, 16 kilometers (10 miles) south of Hartford, Connecticut.

    The world No.3 has dropped to 69th in the FedEx Cup standings, with poor form and a nagging rib injury which has limited him to just seven starts. He also got married to PGA of America employee Erica Stoll.

    “I always felt 2017 was going to be a bit of a transitional year,” said McIlroy, who missed the cut at the US Open. “With, obviously, Nike going out of the golf equipment business and getting married, moving and changing residences, and all that sort of stuff. I didn’t factor an injury into that as well.”

    This is McIlroy’s first appearance at the $6.8 million Travelers. He said the course suits him and he is confident he can contend, beginning Thursday when he tees off with Jim Furyk and Brian Harman.

    “The golf course is great — I can see why Jim Furyk hit 58 last year and why guys can go low,” McIlroy said. “If you’re on with your scoring clubs, it gives you a lot of opportunities.”

    As well as McIlroy the event boasts Jordan Spieth and Jason Day, who played here in 2008 and 2014, when he posted his best finish, a tie for 18th.

    All three are trying to get their best form back ahead of the British Open, PGA Championship and the FedEx Cup playoffs.

    Spieth has recently been struggling with his putter but unlike Day and McIlroy he made the cut at the US Open before finishing in a tie for 35th.

    “I’ve been working on the putting, trying to develop a feel that I can use consistently and kind of not have to think about the stroke and setup and instead focus on the line and speed,” said Spieth who won the Pebble Beach Pro-Am and has six top 10 finishes this year.

    Former world No. 1 Day is coming off a back injury at the end of last season and needs some solid performances to get the second half of his 2017 season going. Day, of Australia, has also had to deal with his mother being diagnosed with lung cancer.

    “I am about a month behind my workload,” he said. AFP

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