The Open: McIlroy blows it amid gales of St Andrews
Young gun Rory McIlroy was brought back down to earth with a bump yesterday after windy conditions virtually blew away his chances of winning the St Andrews Open.
The 21-year-old from Holywood shot a difficult round of 80 to plummet down the leader board and just make the cut.
Meanwhile fellow Northern Ireland golfers Graeme McDowell, Shane Lowry and Darren Clarke fared much better as they comfortably made the cut.
McIlroy was a pale shadow of himself from Thursday when he equalled the best ever opening round at any Major with a stunning round of 63.
But yesterday he was 17 shots worse, carding an 80 as he struggled in the wind. His odds of winning the event have now drifted to 33-1.
His dream of becoming the youngest Open champion for 117 years turned into a nightmare as he was blown away by gusts of up to 40mph.
However the cameras and the crowds continued to stalk the ‘new Tiger’ as they followed every shot at the famous course.
As Tiger Woods’ reputation hit the bunkers following his marriage woes, McIlroy has been attracting huge support.
McDowell and Padraig Harrington firmly believe he can join them in the Major champions’ club after the young star's first day performance at The Open.
Staff and members at Holywood Golf Club are keeping their fingers crossed for their homegrown hero.
Club manager Paul Gray said: “Everybody here wishes him the best of luck.”
McIlroy said: “It was so tough out there — it was hard to get anywhere near the pins.
“It was a very testing day and I didn’t handle it as well as I could have, I think.
“It was the complete opposite of what we had yesterday and I have never played the course when the conditions have been like that.
“It was crosswinds all day and that made it very difficult to get the ball anywhere close to the hole.
“If I have any chance of contending on Sunday then I would love the weather to be calm so I can get at this golf course again, because when there’s calm conditions out here I feel I can go really low.
“Hopefully I can get those conditions again and come back well into this tournament.”