Sunday 18 March 2018

Putter stutter for Rory McIlroy as short game lets down two-time US PGA champion

Rory McIlroy struggled with his putting at Baltusrol (AP)
Rory McIlroy struggled with his putting at Baltusrol (AP)
Rory McIlroy needed to work on his putting after an opening 74 at Baltusrol

Rory McIlroy had to wait until soaring temperatures dropped before working on a cold putter which left him battling to avoid a first missed cut in the US PGA Championship.

McIlroy lifted the Wanamaker Trophy in 2012 and 2014 and has recorded three other top-eight finishes in seven appearances in the final major of the year, but struggled to an opening 74 at Baltusrol on Thursday.

The 27-year-old was keen to work on his putting after signing for his fourth birdie-free score in 115 major championship rounds, and second this year, but took the sensible option as the searing heat forced tournament officials to water the greens during play.

"I'll try to spend as much (time) as I can on it," the 27-year-old said. "Obviously it's very hot out here. I'll probably just go back to the house that we rented, chill out a little bit and maybe come back this evening and hit some putts when it cools off - not that it cools off that much in the evenings.

"I'll try to hit some putts and then maybe spend a bit of extra time on the putting green tomorrow, as well. I'll try to do as much as I can and not wear myself out.

''Tee to green is not the problem and I'm driving the ball as well as ever I think, but when I get to the greens it's a different story. I had a couple of chances early on that I could not convert and then missed a couple of greens and did not get up and down and I was always chasing it from there.

''I really struggled with the pace. They look much quicker than they are and two or three times I had putts within 12 feet that were downhill and left them short.

''I need to be more aggressive with my stroke, figure it out tomorrow and shoot something in the mid-60s and get into the weekend. That's the first objective. I will stay as patient as I can and try to turn it around.''

Press Association

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