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McIlroy, Rose, Fowler chomping at the bit for CJ Cup debuts | Sports

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Rory McIlroy in action during the Tour Championship golf tournament at the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta September 5, 2020. — Reuters pic

NEVADA, Oct 15 — Two-time FedExCup champion Rory McIlroy hopes fatherhood will see him trending towards a first victory in nearly a year when he makes his debut at the CJ Cup at Shadow Creek starting Thursday.

 The 31-year-old is amongst a star-studded line-up gathered for the US$9.75 million (RM40.4 million) showpiece, which was moved from Jeju Island in Korea to Shadow Creek in Vegas for this year only.

Other big names in the elite field include defending champion Justin Thomas, 2018 CJ Cup winner Brooks Koepka, 2017 FedEdxCup winner Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Sungjae Im, Byeong Hun An and Collin Morikawa. A total of 25 players from the top-30 of last season’s FedExCup final standings and 37 from the world’s top-50 are in this week’s tournament.

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“I’ve watched the tournament in Jeju for the last few years and it looked really good, the course looked awesome. I wouldn’t mind if we got to play a Tour event here every year. I’m excited to, after three weeks off, to get back at it again,” said McIlroy.

Changing nappies has become a regular thing for the new father whose last victory was at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in China last November. “I’ve played two events since becoming a dad and I’ve played pretty well both times, two top-10s,” said McIlroy, who is currently ranked World No. 4.

“Felt like I had half a chance going into the final day of the US Open but still a couple of decent weeks and feel like my game is at least heading in the right direction.”

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Rose is looking to regain his trademark consistency which helped him lift the FedExCup title in 2017 and reach World No. 1. This year, he has played in 15 tournaments worldwide, registering three top-10s and missing eight cuts.

“I’m excited to play. I was kind of looking forward to doing some traveling and seeing Jeju Island and what have you, but pretty excited to play here at Shadow Creek. I haven’t been here before and I’ve been blown away by the golf course,” said the Englishman, who is also the reigning Olympic Games Gold Medal winner.

Like Rose and McIlroy, Fowler is also making his debut at the CJ Cup.

“I’m looking forward to being here this week. CJ’s been great to me. Looking forward to playing well and using this stretch leading up to Augusta (Masters Tournament in November) to make sure we’re ready to roll,” Fowler said. — PGA Tour

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