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golf roundup

Rory McIlroy reveals heart ailment

FILE - In this Aug. 12, 2017, file photo, Rory McIlroy watches his tee shot on the third hole during the third round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C. McIlroy says he has a heart ailment that will have to be monitored regularly but is not expected to affect his play. McIlroy said that he has a thickening of the left ventricle. He says doctors told him it was caused by a viral infection he suffered in China 18 months ago. He says he’ll get an electrocardiogram every six months and an MRI once per year. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)
File/Chuck Burton/Associated press
Rory McIlroy, who took three months off to rest a rib injury, returns next week in Abu Dhabi.

Rory McIlroy says he has a heart ailment that will have to be monitored regularly but is not expected to affect his play.

McIlroy said in an interview with The Telegraph that he has a thickening of the left ventricle. He says doctors told him it was caused by a viral infection he suffered in China 18 months ago.

He says he’ll get an electrocardiogram every six months and an MRI once per year.

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‘‘There’s a bit of scar tissue. For now, I just need to stay on top of it and have to stay fit. Hey, I was planning on doing that anyway,’’ McIlroy said.

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McIlroy said later in an Instagram post, ‘‘It’s really not that big of a deal and nothing to worry about, apart from getting an annual checkup, like you should do anyway. . . . I’m fit and healthy and can’t wait to get my 2018 season started in Abu Dhabi next week.’’

McIlroy says he’s fully recovered from the rib injury he suffered a year ago that contributed to a winless 2017. He finished the year ranked 11th, his worst year-end ranking since his rookie year in 2008.

McIlroy took three months off at the end of 2017 to allow his rib to heal. He will make his 2018 debut next week in Abu Dhabi and plans to play eight events before the Masters, his most ambitious schedule ahead of Augusta National in the 10 years he’s been eligible.

PGA — Brian Harman ran off three straight birdies and closed with a 15-foot eagle putt for a 7-under-par 63 and a three-shot lead going into the weekend at the Sony Open in Honolulu.

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Harman was at 13-under 127, and no one could catch him on Friday afternoon.

Chris Kirk, who shared the 18-hole lead with Harman, opened by pitching in from 25 yards for eagle on No. 10. He ended his day by driving into the canal on the easy par-5 ninth and making bogey for a 67.

Kirk was three behind along with Zach Johnson (67), John Peterson (64), Tom Hoge (65), and PGA Tour rookie Talor Gooch.

Harman surged ahead in the morning with two quick birdies on the back nine, made the turn in 32 and ran off three straight birdies early on the front nine. After making his only bogey from a bunker on the par-3 seventh, Harman hit 7-iron from 172 yards to 15 feet on No. 9 for a closing eagle.

It’s all just golf to him.

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‘‘I'm making putts, but I'm also putting myself in position to make those putts,’’ he said. ‘‘I'm getting a bunch of looks. I'm not making everything I'm looking at, but I'm hitting a lot of good putts and made a few. I'm just going to show up tomorrow and try to hit the first tee shot best you can and go from there.’’

Defending champion Justin Thomas was closer to the cut line than the lead until he made a trio of 8-foot putts — two for birdies, one for eagle — to close out a 67. He was seven shots behind.

Jordan Spieth made the longest putt of his PGA Tour career — just over 90 feet on No. 5 — but didn’t give himself many good looks. Spieth birdied the last hole for a 68 and was 10 shots behind.

‘‘I didn’t think I had enough club,’’ Spieth said of his long putt. ‘‘I considered hitting a lob wedge because I had something like 30 yards to the hole into the breeze.’’

The putt looked good all the way, though it had some pace. There was some debate among his two playing partners, Xander Schauffele and Daniel Berger, along with caddie Michael Greller on what would have happened had the ball not slammed into the back of the cup.

‘‘Xander said it was 4 or 5 feet by. Michael said 6,’’ Spieth said. ‘‘Berger said off the green.’’

Schauffele birdied his last four holes and was among those at 8-under 132, five shots behind.

The cut was at 2-under 138.

Harman still looks back to a key tournament last year. He played the Zurich Classic, a two-man team event, with Johnson Wagner and used Wagner’s Titleist golf ball during the alternate-shot portion. Harman put one in his bag the following week at the Wells Fargo Championship and won.

The change wasn’t so much about distance as the way he was able to control the trajectory of the ball, especially in the wind.

‘‘The wind doesn’t seem to take it as much,’’ he said. ‘‘That’s just a personal thing for me. I feel like I did when I was a kid again. I felt like I was a better ball-striker when I was a kid . . . I'm starting to get some of those feelings back.’’

Harman played in the final group last week and tied for third, though no one was about to catch Dustin Johnson.

Peterson is playing on a medical extension because of hand surgery, and he has eight tournaments to make $375,165 (or earn 274 FedEx Cup points) to keep a full card the rest of the year. He doesn’t sound overly worried, which is not to suggest he’s overconfident.

He has a 3-month-old son, one reason he decided to take the entire fall off before resuming his bid to keep his card.

‘‘If my attitude is good, I'm going to play good,’’ he said. ‘‘I've never been in a better spot lifestyle-wise than I am right now, so that probably has a lot to do with it. I've got eight events to make $350,000. If I do, great. If I don't, who cares? I'm just out here free-wheeling.’’

European — Chris Paisley and Adrien Saddier opened up a big lead after two rounds of the South African Open in Johannesburg as they moved to 13 under par and four shots clear of their nearest challengers.

Paisley hit a 7-under 65 to move up from second overnight. Saddier had the round of the day at Glendower Golf Club, a blistering, course record-equaling 63 with an eagle, seven birdies and no bogeys.

Both Paisley and Saddier are seeking a maiden European Tour title.

Home player Jacques Kruyswijk is alone in second on 9 under, with a group of four players another shot behind him on 8 under and in a tie for fourth.

That group contains overnight leaders Branden Grace and Chase Koepka, Zimbabwe’s Scott Vincent, and Retief Goosen, the two-time US Open champion who hasn’t won a professional tournament since 2009.

The 48-year-old Goosen began this week with a promising 69 and then carded six birdies and an eagle for his 5-under 67 in the second round. It could have been even better if not for a bogey on No. 13 and a double bogey on the last.

Ernie Els, a five-time winner of the South African Open, made the cut after a 70 moved him to 3 under. Defending champion Graeme Storm missed the cut by a shot, though, thanks mainly to his opening-round 75.