Monday 20 November 2017

Rory McIlroy in danger of missing the cut at Wentworth

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy during day two of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy during day two of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth
Rory McIlroy tees off on the 1st hole during day two of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth

Phil Casey

Rory McIlroy found himself battling to avoid a third consecutive missed cut rather than chasing the leaders in the BMW PGA Championship on Friday.

McIlroy announced on Wednesday that he had called off his planned November wedding to former world number one tennis player Caroline Wozniacki, even though the invitations had just been sent out.

The 25-year-old admitted he would therefore find it very difficult to concentrate on his golf in the European Tour's flagship event, but did a commendable job with a first round of 68.

However, with a swirling wind making conditions difficult for the early starters, McIlroy was soon falling down the leaderboard instead of getting closer to overnight leader Thomas Bjorn.

After missing from 15 feet for birdie on the first, McIlroy bogeyed the second after mis-hitting his tee shot and failing to get up and down from a greenside bunker.

Another bogey followed on the third before McIlroy repaired some of the damage with a birdie on the fourth, the downhill 552-yard par five playing the easiest hole on the course.

The two-time major winner had enjoyed some good fortune on the seventh hole on Thursday, spinning a wedge shot some 30 feet back into the hole for an eagle, but it was a completely different story today.

The world number 10 thinned a bunker shot across the green and his pitch back onto the putting surface caught a slope to finish 25 feet away, from where he two-putted for a double-bogey six.

At one under par he now had to be more concerned with making the cut than catching Bjorn, with the cut currently predicted to fall at level par.

Bjorn was not due out until shortly before 1pm but remained top of the leaderboard on 10 under par, Spain's Rafael Cabrera-Bello getting within a shot with an eagle on the fourth but then dropping shots on the sixth and eighth.

McIlroy eased his worries with an eagle on the par-five 12th for the second day running, this time holing from 10 feet to move back to three under par.

That was one shot behind Ryder Cup team-mate Ian Poulter, who had been a doubt before the first round with a back injury but had carded an opening 70 and picked up two shots on Friday.

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