McIlroy precariously placed
Published 29/03/2013 | 19:01
A late run of form from Rory McIlroy ensured that he closed his second round at the Houston Open temporarily safe from the cut, but that could still change by the end of the day.
The Northern Irishman carded birdies at the 15th and 16th holes for a second-round 70 - a score that leaves him on one under for the weekend.
With the projected cut set at that score, McIlroy had been facing up to an early finish when he teed off at the 15th hole, but two timely birdies gave him a fighting chance of sparing his blushes.
At the time of signing his card he was nine shots behind leader Steve Wheatcroft - the American on 10 under without striking a ball on Friday - and the victory he needs to regain the world number one spot he lost last week looks remote.
As a result, Tiger Woods is likely to start the Masters on top of the pile, although McIlroy should at least avoid the blow of missing the cut, assuming a lot of the players below him do not significantly improve.
The only man to make a move on the leader on Friday was England`s Brian Davis who shaved two shots off the par to move to seven under for the tournament, but still three behind Wheatcoft and one behind DA Points.
Lee Westwood made a promising start with a first-hole birdie to move to five under, while Scott Stallings and Dustin Johnson rested on that score after rounds of three and two under respectively.
While McIlroy may have a wait to see if he misses the cut, one of his former Ryder Cup team-mates, Paul Casey, already knows his fate.
The Englishman was seven over when he ended the day - 13 over for the tournament - and his hunt for form carries on.