Golf roundup | Feng wins U.S. Women's Open qualifier; McIlroy leads Memorial

HERALD STAFF, WIRE REPORTSMay 30, 2014 

Yueer Cindy Feng.

On Thursday, Yueer Cindy Feng was back atop the leaderboard at a big tournament in Manatee County. This time, she didn't let it slip away.

Feng, who lost in a playoff during last month's LPGA Symetra Tour stop at Sara Bay Country Club, won the U.S. Women's Open qualifier by four strokes at The Ritz-Carlton Members Golf Club in East Manatee.

Feng shot a 36-hole score of 135 in the event, which was completed Thursday after rain and lightning stopped play Wednesday night. She advanced to the U.S. Women's Open on June 19-22 at Pinehurst.

Orlando's Sandra Changkija and Colombia's Paula Hurtado captured the other two qualifying spots. Hurtado won a six-player playoff that included Bradenton players Doris Chen, Jaclyn Sweeney, Anya Alvarez and Nelly Korda. Chen, who won the NCAA individual championship this past weekend for USC, is a second alternate. Alvarez, whose swing instructor is Jon Bullas of Lakewood Ranch, is the first alternate.

PGA -- Whether it's his health or his personal life, Rory McIlroy is not easily distracted when he's on top of his game.

McIlroy made two eagles and three birdies on the back nine at Muirfield Village along with a double bogey on his way to a 9-under 63 and a three-shot lead after the opening round of the Memorial in Dublin, Ohio.

A week ago, McIlroy began his week at Wentworth by announcing he and tennis star Caroline Wozniacki and broken off their engagement. Then, he went out and won the BMW Championship for his strongest win in more than two years.

At the Memorial, McIlroy caught his spikes in the turf on his second shot at the seventh hole and felt pain the rest of the round, especially when he had to put a little extra pop into tee shots or long irons. He was limping when he walked off the stage after talking about how he made five birdies and two eagles after hurting his knee.

It was the lowest opening round in 39 years at the Memorial.

"I don't think it's anything more than just being confident with my game," McIlroy said. "I was expecting this to happen. I've been playing well. I've been posting good numbers, good rounds. And I knew my game was close. And honestly, I don't think it's anything to do with what's happening off the golf course. It's just I've been trending in the right direction, and it's starting to all come together."

Masters champion Bubba Watson, Chris Kirk and Paul Casey each had a 66 while playing in calmer and slightly softer morning conditions. Keegan Bradley was at 67, notable not because it was his best score at Muirfield Village but because it was his first time in his four years on the PGA Tour that he did not use a belly putter.

EUROPEAN PGA -- Sweden's Jens Dantorp and Eddie Pepperell of England opened with 6-under-par 66s to share the lead after the first day of the Nordea Masters in Malmo, Sweden.

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