Costly finish sees Rory McIlroy lose ground at Wells Fargo in Charlotte
Rory McIlroy's Wells Fargo Championship challenge hit the buffers as a costly double-bogey saw him fall five shots off the leads at Quail Hollow.
The World No.4 was just two shots back of Jason Dufner and Joel Dahmen with two holes of his second round to play, but he came unstuck at the par-four eighth.
Having found a greenside bunker on the short hole, McIlroy just got the ball out of the bunker with his second and then over-hit the green with his third, eventually limping in with a six.
That then wasn't helped when the 29-year-old, who turns 30 tomorrow, finished his round with a bogey at the ninth.
As a result, the Holywood man now lies five adrift of Dufner - Dahmen also dropped a shot on his final hole - and needing to make up some ground if he's to complete his third victory around Quail Hollow.
It had been a steady enough round up to that point for McIlroy, who started on the tenth and birdied his opening hole to regain the solo lead right off the bat.
Although he bogeyed the 14th after a three-putt, he responded in the perfect fashion with back-to-back birdies at the 15th and 16th, the latter coming after a glorious approach to a foot.
He continued that good form after the turn, rolling in a nice putt for a birdie at the third and then picking up another shot at the par-five seventh to leave him in a good position.
But then he hit those final two holes where all his good work was undone, the double on the eighth compounded by the bogey at the ninth after a fluffed chip from behind the green to leave him five back.
Meanwhile, Dufner had a sensational second round, carding an eight-under par 63 to soar up the standings and into the lead alongside overnight leader Dahmen.
The former PGA Championship winner had seven birdies and an eagle on his card, along with a solitary bogey, in what was by far the best round of the early starters.
Dahmen, meanwhile, was flawless for the second day in a row right up until his last hole, the ninth, when he finally dropped his first shot of the tournament.
Still, the World No.125 carded six birdies before that frustrating bogey on his way to a 66 that keeps him just one back of Dufner and likely in tomorrow's final pairing.
Belfast Telegraph Digital