Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 23 November 2014

Still cutting up rough for Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy knows all about winning at Quail Hollow but he is finding the going tough after only just making the cut.

McIlroy – who celebrates his 25th birthday tomorrow – was a winner here in 2010 but the Wells Fargo Championship is proving a difficult test.

McIlroy finished on one over par after last night's disappointing four over 76, following on from his first round three under par 69.

But the nightmare continued for Dubliner Padraig Harrington.

An error-ridden six-over par 78 consigned the three-time Major Champion to his seventh weekend off in 11 tournaments this year and his 15th missed cut in 30 events dating back to the 2013 Masters.

Harrington certainly wasn't the only multiple Major winner to find the going tough in the second round of the Wells Fargo Championship.

McIlroy and Phil Mickelson came back down to earth with a thud after opening impressively on Thursday.

Mickelson, one-shy of the lead overnight after an inspired performance with his putter during a first round 67, played as if there was cellophane over the cups as he stumbled to a three-over 75.

The left-hander had 34 putts, including one three-stab, against just 27 the previous day.

Clearly encouraged by some deft putting as he opened with a 69, McIlroy shipped a series of winding body blows on the front nine.

The problems started when he three-putted from 12 feet for bogey four at the second hole, followed by stunning back-to-back double-bogey sixes at the fourth and fifth.

On both occasions McIlroy's tendency to hit the occasional long shot way left landed him in deep trouble, off the tee at three and with his approach from mid-fairway at the fourth hole.

As he mixed sublime shots, like his rip-roaring 330-yard drive into the heart of the fairway at nine, with the slipshod, only making par at that hole, McIlroy completed that front nine in 40 strokes and was perilously close to the cut mark.

Mind you, he barely made the weekend at Quail Hollow in 2010 and went on to win with staggering rounds of 66 and 62.

The way he's playing right now, even a clairvoyant would have difficulty predicting how McIlroy might mark his birthday.

Harrington's future is decidedly unsure as he ploughs ever deeper into a form slump.

Three-under for his first 16 holes, Harrington played his next 20 in eight-over par, taking up yesterday where he'd left off with Thursday's double-bogey, bogey finish.

Martin Flores and Angel Cabrera led Justin Rose by one in the clubhouse on nine-under.

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