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McIlroy blows another lead in Malaysia

OBSERVATIONS

McIlroy blows another lead in Malaysia

Rory McIlroy will resurface again in two weeks at the Wells Fargo Championship by which time he should have recovered from his round-the-world trip from Augusta to Malaysia where he didn't win another tournament he was leading on Sunday.

McIlroy took a lead into the final round of the Maybank Malaysian Open only to be beaten by Matteo Mannasero, the hottest teenager this side of Justin Beiber. 'Rors' didn't help himself with a back-nine double bogey a week after his Masters meltdown.

Now there are questions about McIlroy's ability to close out tournaments. Is it a legit concern? Perhaps temporarily but it's probably not a long-term issue.

It would be of more concern if McIlroy weren't getting in position to win. He needs to sharpen his short putting, for sure, but there's time to do that. He'll get through this.

The South Course at Carmel Country Club recently reopened for members and it's a dramatic improvement. Architect Rees Jones, who had done some work on the layout several years earlier, has transformed the course into one of Charlotte's best.

No one is promising a title sponsor this weekend but there are encouraging vibes around Harbour Town Golf Links this week where The Heritage is being played without a title sponsor. Players have spoken out about how much they want the tournament to continue and despite a near-miss with a potential sponsor recently, there is a degree of optimism that the PGA Tour and tournament officials may find a partner soon.

If a title sponsor isn't found, it will reflect very poorly on the PGA Tour given the international recognition of the event due in no small part to the familiar lighthouse and famous finishing hole.

CHIP SHOTS

The field for the Wells Fargo Championship keeps adding players while the ticket supply keeps dwindling.

Tournament officials have announced tickets for the Friday round are now sold out. Saturday tickets are also sold out.

Weekly badges and daily tickets (www.wellsfargochampionship.com) for Thursday and Sunday are still available as are practice round packages.

Also, Angel Cabrera, who finished third last year, has joined the list of players who have officially committed to the tournament May 2-8 at the Quail Hollow Club. Also, Rickie Fowler, Davis Love III and Stewart Cink have committed.

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are expected to play but neither has officially committed yet. Entries remain open until 5 p.m. April 29.

Cheyenne Woods, niece of Tiger Woods, captured the ACC women's individual golf championship last weekend in Greensboro. The junior from Phoenix won by seven strokes over North Carolina's Allie White.

The ACC men's golf championship begins Friday at the Old North State Club at Uwharrie Point in New London. Georgia Tech, ranked fourth in the latest Golfweek rankings, is the pre-tournament favorite led by J.T. Griffin and Kyle Scott. Duke (No. 17) and Virginia (No. 19) are the highest-ranked challengers to the Yellow Jackets.

The Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn presented by Kia Motors has surpassed the $1 million mark in charity donations. The tournament, now in its ninth year, will be played June 6-12 at Rock Barn Golf & Spa in Conover. Last year, it made contributions to almost 50 area charities.

Ryan Vince, who played at Providence High, recently won his first college tournament, capturing the C&F Bank Intercollegiate championship in a three-hole playoff over James Madison teammate Chris Wallde and Justin Martinson of Delaware. Vince is a sophomore at JMU and won the western regional state championship as a freshman at Providence High in 2006.

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