Friday 18 April 2014

Rory shoots a wretched 79 as season goes from bad to worse

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland reacts after missing his birdie putt on the second green during the first round of the British Open golf championship at Muirfield in Scotland July 18, 2013.  REUTERS/Toby Melville (BRITAIN  - Tags: SPORT GOLF)
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland reacts after missing his birdie putt on the second green

RORY McIlroy's wretched 2013 took another turn for the worst today as he slumped to an awful eight-over 79 which all but ends his Open Championship chances.

The world number two has struggled for any kind of form since the turn of the year and brought those struggles to Muirfield today where he endured a round to forget.

He missed a chance to get back to level par on the ninth and his back nine was simply horrendous with four bogeys, two double bogeys and a solitary birdie.

He trails clubhouse leader Zach Johnson by an astonishing 13 shots and will need a miraculous round tomorrow to make the cut.

Speaking to the BBC after his round, McIlroy said: "I sort of hung in there, I made two sloppy bogeys on four and five and then came back with a good birdie on seven.

"I had a chance on nine to get it back to even par and didn't quite make that.

"I just let a few shots get away from me, a few too many loose shots and there were a few silly mental errors out there which cost me.

"I missed the ball in the wrong places which you can't do here especially with the firmness of the greens now, just stupid mental errors I shouldn't be making.

"It's got so fast and firm and if you're not in total control of your golf ball out there it's going to be quite difficult."

The 24-year-old Northern Irishman, whose form has deserted him since he changed clubs at the start of the year after signing a mega-bucks deal with Nike, sported a look of sad resignation when he walked off the 18th green at Muirfield.

The scorching sun may have been beating down on the banks of the Firth of Forth but the storm clouds hovered over McIlroy's head from the start.

The double major champion dropped strokes at the fourth and fifth before getting one back with a birdie at the seventh.

McIlroy then dropped four shots in three holes from the 10th before he produced a wonder stroke from the knee-high rough at the 14th, coaxing the ball to within six feet of the pin from a seemingly impossible position.

It was, however, a rare moment of delight amid the overall gloom. He then proceeded to putt the ball straight into a back bunker from the front of the 15th green to card his second double bogey in four holes.

Two more dropped strokes at the 17th and 18th means he now faces a battle to make the cut on Friday.

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