RORY McIlroy suffered another Friday to forget and was joined by Russell Knox in feeling black and blue after the pair were battered on a “brutal” back nine at Royal Aberdeen in the second round of the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open.
McIlroy made it look easy with his course-record seven-under-par 64 on Thursday but, from leading by one, he was in danger of missing the cut at one point before getting up and down from bunkers at each of the last two holes to save par.
The two-times major winner eventually signed for a 78 to drop back to level-par for the tournament, leaving him six shots behind the joint halfway leaders, Scotland’s Marc Warren, Ricardo Gonzalez from Argentina and Swede Kristof Broberg.
“It was just one of those days that nothing really went right,” groaned a shell-shocked McIlroy, who’d produced a masterclass on the opening day but was all over the place at times yesterday.
He could only muster one birdie on the front nine, which was playing downwind, then started back by dropping five shots in the space of five holes, including a double-bogey 7 at the 12th.
“Turning in two-over wasn’t very good but it also wasn’t the end of the world,” he added. “I then bogeyed the tenth from nowhere, doubled the 12th and compounded that with bogeys on the 13th and 14th.
“But I’m here for the weekend. I’m only two shots off the top ten and I now need to go out tomorrow and shoot something similar to what I did the first day.”
While a wind blowing from the north-west had suited McIlroy’s game in the first round, he wasn’t prepared for what to expect as it moved around 180 degrees.
“This is the first day I’d play the course in this wind direction and it was much tougher than it was yesterday,” acknowledged the bookies’ favourite to win next week’s Open. It was the latest in a string of Friday frustrations for McIlroy. At this year’s Memorial, he followed a first-round 63 with a 78 and there’s a trend developing that is starting