Sunday 21 December 2014

McIlroy's new low as Furyk hits superb 59

William S Callahan

Published 14/09/2013 | 05:00

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland tees off on the first hole during the second round of the BMW Championship golf tournament at the Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, Illinois, September 13, 2013.   REUTERS/Jim Young   (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT GOLF)
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland tees off on the first hole during the second round of the BMW Championship golf tournament

RORY McILROY hit rock bottom as his defence of the BMW Championship title turned into yet another grim war of attrition for the Holywood native.

McIlroy came to Conway Farms in Lake Forest hoping to tap into the positive vibes from his previous visit to Chicago for the Ryder Cup 12 months ago.

Instead the 24-year-old was plunged ever deeper into one of the most persistent, perplexing and deflating form slumps of his stellar career as a second-round 77 left him plumb last in 70th place on 13-over.

McIlroy was a whopping 24 shots behind joint tournament leaders Jim Furyk and FedEx Cup-holder Brandt Snedeker.

Furyk showed in truly sensational fashion how ripe Conway Farms was for scoring yesterday by posting only the sixth 59 in US PGA Tour history.

The key to this phenomenal achievement by 2010 FedEx Cup champion Furyk was hitting all 14 fairways. He made an eagle at 15, his sixth hole, 10 birdies and an irritating bogey five at the fifth.

Overlooked by President Cup captain Fred Couples for a place on the team to face the International Select at Muirfield Village next month, Furyk, 43, made his point in spectacular fashion as he joined Stuart Appleby (2010), Paul Goydos (2010), David Duval (1999), Chip Beck (1991) and Al Geiberger (1977) on the US Tour's '59' roll of honour.

Snedeker, bidding to become the first FedEx title holder to make the 30 man field at Tour Championship the following season, followed-up Thursday's 63 with a solid 68 to share the lead with Furyk on 11-under.

McIlroy launched his defence of the BMW title determined to take the top-seven finish which would clinch his place in the next week's FedEx Cup finale in Atlanta.

Yet those plans were wrecked as he matched his worst-ever 36-hole score against par in six years as a professional ... McIlroy was 13-over after posting rounds of 83 and 74 on his way to a missed cut at the 2008 South African Airways Open.

McIlroy has exceeded his 12-over-par total as he missed the cut in the British Open at Muirfield in July, when McIlroy conceded he felt "a little lost" on the golf course.

Though he looked as if he was about to find his way out of the wilderness as he tied eighth in his defence of the US PGA title at Oak Hill last month, McIlroy has once again stumbled back into the dark netherworld he's occupied for much of 2013.

It's astonishing how far he has fallen.

In all, McIlroy now has racked-up 14 double-bogeys and two trebles in 18 competitive rounds since supposedly turning a corner at the Bridgestone World Championship in Firestone early last month.

UNHAPPY

The latest addition to that unhappy catalogue came yesterday in the shape of a morale-sapping double-bogey at the par four seventh. Already three-over through five, McIlroy drove deep into an unplayable lie to the left of the fairway at seven. After a penalty drop, he then took another three strokes to make the green before tapping in for a six.

This was followed in quick succession by a bogey six at eight, where McIlroy hit his second into rough some 17 yards away from the green and took another three shots to get out of the long grass. Grim stuff indeed!

In all, McIlroy's opening 36 holes at Conway Farms included one triple-bogey, two doubles, 10 bogeys and four birdies. Sadly, there's no halfway cut this week to spare him any further embarrassment.

Graeme McDowell's prospects of reaching the Tour Championship for the first time were dented by a double-bogey seven at the last, a second round 73 leaving the Portrush man on one-over. Tiger Woods stalled with a one-under 70 yesterday, which left him five off the pace on six-under.

BMW Championship,

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Irish Independent

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