Rory McIlroy has to put in the hard work as accuracy deserts him

Joy Chakravarty 08:13 22/11/2014
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Daily grind: Rory McIlroy salutes the crowd on the third hole.

A day after dazzling spectators with a six-under par 66, despite it being his first competitive round in over six weeks, world No1 Rory McIlroy was a shadow of his own self yester­day as he chunked shots and three-putted.

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And yet, it is a tribute to his men­tal strength, and how well he has been playing lately, that the North­ern Irishman managed to turn what could have been an ugly over-par round into a respectable two-under par 70.

That kept McIlroy firmly in con­tention at the halfway stage, placed tied second at 136, just two shots behind leader Henrik Stenson.

McIlroy said: “I just didn’t quite have it. I guess you’re going to get rounds like that when you’re com­ing back from a little bit of a lay‑off.

“I felt like I did well. I grinded out a score, which was the main thing. I’m still pretty close to the lead. So there are still 36 holes to go, and I’m still in a good position.

“Henrik obviously knows how to play well on this golf course. I will have to make sure he does not run away too far tomorrow.”

Nice first day back at the office….

McIlroy got off to a fast start with a birdie on his opening hole, but then made 12 straight pars, mak­ing par on holes he should have made birdies on, and saving pars on certain holes where bogeys looked imminent.

One such hole was the par-5 sev­enth, where he hit a fat, duckhook second shot with a five-wood and could only make a par. On the par- 5 18th, he slammed a monster tee shot into the water hazard, and had to be content with a par again.

He did make three birdies late into the round, on the 14th, 15th and 17th, but he spoiled that stretch with a three-putt bogey on the 16th.

McIlroy’s fellow overnight lead­er, Shane Lowry, endured an up and down day. The Irishman struggled badly at the start with three bogies from his opening four holes before a birdie at the 9th and hole-in-one on the par-three 13th saw him fin­ish one-under for the day and three shots off Stenson.

“It was a beautiful shot, a perfect number for my six iron,” said Low­ry. “It’s my first in tournament play and only my second ever so it was pretty exciting. It was hard to go on and play the next hole after that.” 

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