Rory McIlroy was in no mood for blowing out any 30th birthday celebration candles after a deflating finish on day two of the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Organisers have arranged another multi-layered birthday cake for presentation to the World No. 4 ahead of teeing-up tomorrow (Saturday May 4th) but with McIlroy turning his last day as a 29-year old into a real ‘dog’s breakfast’ finishing double-bogey and bogey in a round of 70 for a six-under par total at Quail Hollow.
“It is obviously disappointing,” McIlroy said after his round.
“I played some really good stuff today. I probably played better today than I did yesterday in terms of how I hit it off the tee ball-striking wise.
“It’s a funny game. I stood up here last night talking about that I got the most out of it yesterday and today it was the complete opposite.
“You know, I turned a 66 into a 70. Golf, it’s a funny game, and these things happen.”
McIlroy had shared the lead on day one with an impressive five-under par 66 and was looking to finish at nine-under had it not been for the first of his woes at his 17th, and the equal-shortest par-4 on the Charlotte course, and this was after McIlroy dropped a shot earlier in his day at the similar 345-yard long par-4 14th or the fifth hole of his round.
McIlroy began his round on a positive note and starting from the par-5 10th with a two-putt birdie though he was back to even in three-putting 14 before a birdie at the second par-5 on the back-nine on the card at 15 in holing a six-footer for birdie before bringing the par-4 16th, and the opening hole of the famed ‘Green Mile’ closing trio of holes to its knees.
McIlroy pulled-off the longest drive of the event at 16, sending a 366-yard bullet to within 147-yards of the green before landing his second to just 18-inches and back-to-back birdies at 15 and 16 for a second day running, and with his drive at 16 being 12-yards longer at the same hole a day earlier.
McIlroy headed to his last nine holing a 24-footer for a fourth birdie of his day at the par-3 third hole or his 13th and then salvaged a fifth birdie after missing a similar length putt for eagle at the par-5 seventh.
There was a touch of frustration with McIlroy letting go of his driver after a wayward drive left down the eighth that found a bunker just less than 60-yards from the flag from where McIlroy then compounded the issue in ‘fluffing’ his wedge shot some 16—yards into rough guarding the green and left greenside fans gasping when he sent his third through the green.
There were more sighs when McIlroy then ‘fluffed’ a 22-foot chip shot ahead of walking off with a first double bogey since a similar ‘6’ early on the final day of his Players Championship victory.
The Holywood man was then given a free drop when his second shot into his last, the par-4 ninth, came to rest near a greenside grandstand but again there were sighs when he ‘duffed’ a third and then missed his par attempt.
“The one thing especially this week that’s become so tough is the greens are so firm,” added McIlroy.
“The greens are really, really firm. I guess it’s hard because for how firm they are, they’re not overly fast. So if you start missing greens, it can make it a little bit tricky in terms of you’ve got to judge that first bounce as it’s going to bounce, but then once it starts to roll, it’s not really going to get away from you.
While McIlroy struggled as an early starter Seamus Power was rallying and continuing his good form as he followed up yesterday’s 69 with a second round 68 to climb into the top 10 at -5.