Saturday 20 January 2018

McIlroy hopes falter on Cog Hill greens

William S Callahan

RORY McILROY proved in victory at Quail Hollow he can go low at the weekend.

Yet the youngster's prospects of picking up the eight or more shots he's likely to need over the next 36 holes at Cog Hill to make the Tour Championship looked grim after two days in which McIlroy's faith in his putter must have been badly dented.

The notorious greens at Cog Hill were a little less treacherous yesterday morning than on Thursday afternoon, but McIlroy still struggled, missing three times from five feet or less as a second-round 74 sent him tumbling to eight-over for the BMW Championship.

Someone so gifted should never be written off and one wonders how different yesterday might have been for McIlroy had he not made a shocking double-bogey seven at 15, his sixth hole, after hitting his tee shot deep into trouble in the trees.

Flying high after early birdies at 10, 11 and 14, McIlroy came back to earth with such a bump, he'd drop five shots in his next six holes, including another double-bogey at three.

FedEx Cup holder Tiger Woods also needs to make up a lot of ground to get into the 30-man field at the Tour Championship. Needing a top-five finish, Woods was on three-over, nine behind second round leaders Charlie Wie (69) and Matt Kuchar (72).

"I feel I'm hitting good puts, but a lot of them aren't going in on these greens," said Woods.

Phil Mickelson, level par for his round and one-over overall after a double-bogey (his third six of the day) at 18, shrugged: "I just don't think I'm good enough to play this course."

Though disappointed his 72 yesterday didn't do justice to his play, Ian Poulter was still prominent with Paul Casey (69), Luke Donald (70), Dustin Johnson (70) and Retief Goosen (71) in the group sharing fourth on four-under.

BMW Championship,

live, sky sports 4, 4.30

Irish Independent

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