Nightmare finish puts Rory McIlroy in fight to make cut at PGA Championship as opening round unravels
Rory McIlroy's ideal start at the BMW PGA Championship turned into a nightmare as he struggled to a four over par opening round 76.
The world number two looked well placed when he followed his eagle at the par five fourth with a birdie to go -3 through five but the round soon unravelled, culminating in reloaded tee shots on the final two holes.
When he left the course, McIlroy was outside the top 100 and 11 shots behind leader Matt Wallace.
It all looked familiarly impressive when he teed up another makable birdie putt on the seventh but when it slid by, it would prove something of a turning point.
A vicious lip out on the eighth started a run of three bogeys on the trot. He found bunkers off the tee and on the approach at the ninth, doing well to give himself even a chance of par when his ball was plugged in the face of the greenside trap.
A miscue off the par three tenth led to another bogey as McIlroy couldn't get up and down and only a lengthy par save stopped the rot at the next to leave him level for the day.
A two-putt birdie at the par five 12th was only to be brief respite with bogey fives coming at the 13th and 15th.
Real disaster arrived on 17 and 18 with those wayward tee shots out to the right, the first causing a double bogey seven and the second, although it was eventually found, leading to a reload for an unplayable lie with the end result a long bogey save.
The early leader was Englishman Matt Wallace, who carded an unblemished opening round 65, featuring five birdies and an eagle to sit seven under par.
Playing alongside McIlroy, Open champion Shane Lowry carded two bogeys and two birdies for a level par 72. Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington finished a shot further back on one over.
Belfast Telegraph Digital