"If he'd done yesterday what he has done today, he'd have been all right!"
The bar at the Holywood club was packed with former club captains.
One, Ray Watt, said: "Rory just had a bad day yesterday (Thursday).
"After that start it was always going to be difficult for him - but we're still all great supporters of Rory here," he added.
"This year, he's largely been in the top 10 of everything he has played in - and when you think of the quality of golf in this day and age, that's pretty special," Brian Giddings, another former club captain, chipped in.
Club member Niall McFadden attributed Rory's Open difficulties to the huge weight of expectations laid on him to perform well on his home turf.
"I think he's under a lot of pressure," Niall said.
"As an individual, there would be a lot of pressure.
"All eyes have been on him over the course of the last few days.
"It's not going to be easy in front of the home crowd.
"People are going to be expecting quite a bit of you," the golfer said.
"I think there is a mental battle there. It's tough for him. He's in a situation where he is struggling in some respects."
Mr McFadden contrasted the sparkling performance from Ireland's Shane Lowry, who faced none of the hometown pressure placed on Rory.
"You can have good days and bad days.
"Shane Lowry has come in and he's doing brilliantly.
"He's under none of the pressure Rory is under."
Niall said massive expectations had been heaped on the Holywood golfer's shoulders.
"If you combine local expectation and the pressure he's put on himself, and the fact that he's also been heavily involved on the preparation of the event, put all that together and it's very easy to lose focus on how you are playing.
"When he plays in the USA, he doesn't have that burden - and that gives him a lot more freedom."
Martin Atkinson, speaking as Rory mounted a valiant but unsuccessful comeback battle last night, said: "I think it started badly and then got worse." He too felt there was huge pressure of the Holywood hero to perform in front of his home crowd.
"But when Rory starts well, there's no stopping him" added Martin.