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Rory McIlroy drives into last 16 as Séamus Power exits in Texas

Rory McIlroy drives into last 16 as Séamus Power exits in Texas

Rory McIlroy remained on a collision course with world No 1 Scottie Scheffler when he used his new driver like a weapon to cruise into the last 16 of the WGC-Dell Technologies Championship in Texas.

or the second day running, the Holywood star didn’t make a bogey as he eased to a 4&2 win over Keegan Bradley to set up a last-16 clash with 2021 Irish Open champion Lucas Herbert.

Defending champion Scheffler looked impressive as he beat Tom Kim 3&2 to secure a meeting with JT Poston but

No 3 seed McIlroy looks to be building up steam for the Masters.

“I’m getting more and more confidence with it as the days go by,” McIlroy said. “I drove it great yesterday, drove it great again today and the way this course sets up well, if you can drive it in the fairway and drive long, especially on these last few holes here, you can give yourself a big advantage on those.”

Ominously for Herbert, McIlroy still believes there’s room for improvement, especially on the greens.

“I was a little happier with my putting today especially on the front nine,” he said. “I held some good putts for pars and perhaps I missed a couple of short ones coming in there that I probably could have put Keegan away earlier.”

Seamus Power lost 2-up to Sam Burns, who topped the group after Adam Scott lost 3&2 to Canadian Adam Hadwin.

Power birdied three holes in a row from the fifth to go one-up but Burns made a clutch 14-footer for a half at the eighth and hardly put a foot wrong from there, finishing with three birdies in a row, making a 27-footer at the 17th and a six-footer at the last.

Power now turns his attention to Augusta and so too does Shane Lowry, who can take confidence from his 2&1 win over Jordan Spieth.

He played the first seven holes in just two-under-par but found himself five-up at the turn and while Spieth rallied to get back to two-down, the American ran out of holes.

As Lowry and Spieth exited, Canada’s Mackenzie Hughes thrashed Taylor Montgomery 6&4 before beating him on the first play-off hole to set up a last-16 clash with Max Homa.

In South Africa, Holywood’s Tom McKibbin (20) fired a two-under 70 to share 46th on six-under in the DP World Tour’s Jonsson Workwear Open.

He’s seven shots behind Germany’s Nick Bachem, who shot 66 to lead by one stroke from Finland’s Sami Valimaki and Frenchman Romain Langasque on 13-under-par at The Club at Steyn City in Johannesburg.

On the Challenge Tour, Conor Purcell and Niall Kearney shot one-under 71s to share 30th heading into the weekend at the Duncan Taylor Black Bull Challenge in India.

They’re six shots behind Manuel Elvira on five-under with amateur Robert Moran four-under and Dermot McElroy a shot further back after 70s.

At the LPGA Drive On Championship, Stephanie Meadow followed an opening 68 with a 72 to trail early leader Jenny Shin by eight shots on four-under.

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