For a second day running there were occasions when it seemed safer for Rory McIlroy fans to roam the fairways than stay behind the BMW PGA Championship spectator ropes – such was the nature of McIlroy’s day two 69 in managing to deliver those fans and event organisers a huge sigh of relief to just make the one-over par cut-off mark at Wentworth.
It left the World No. 2 trailing a dozen shots behind the leading duo of former Masters champ, Danny Willett (65) and Spaniard Jon Rahm (66) who lead the field at 11-under par.
McIlroy was struggling below the ‘Burma Road’ cut-off mark with five holes to play before grabbing a birdie at the 13th and then chipping-in from some 15-yards for a birdie ‘3’ on 16.
He then had spectators scattering left of 17 in taking a par before veering right with his second shot at 18 in also posting a par.
“I had not done much for the last couple of weeks so my alignment was off a little bit, and the more my alignment gets off, the bigger the misses are each way as you saw out there,” he said.
“I worked with Michael (Bannon – coach) for a few hours on that after my first round and felt I made some good strides but then it is easier working on that aspect of your game on the range compared with being on the golf course.
“Overall, I am proud I was able to get back into the weekend and while I have a bit of work now to do over the weekend, I am just glad I am here for it.
“Also, I did not want to let down my father as I have been getting text messages from him as we are playing together in next week’s Dunhill Links.”
For McIlroy, it was a third Wentworth round in succession playing partner Francesco Molinari had produced a better score with his Italian-born rival producing scores of 69 and 70 for a five-under 36-hole total.
McIlroy does head into the last two rounds with history somewhat still on his side as his biggest-ever career comeback was making-up nine shots on the final day to capture the 2010 Quail Hollow Championship in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The win, thanks to a new course record setting 62, was McIlroy’s first success on the PGA Tour.
Joining McIlroy for the closing two rounds is fellow Open champ, Shane Lowry who fought back from a double-bogey on 16 to birdie the last in a round of 71 that heads the Irish challenge in a share of 40th place on one-under par.
“I just got off to a bad start today but then I hit a couple of ropey tee shots today and you do that around here, you are going to be struggling,” said Lowry.
“Somehow I shot one-under and thanks to the birdie at the last there.
“The way things are now it’s all about gaining as many Race to Dubai points as I can as every point I now earn is a bonus.
“So, that’s why it’s been great to make it through to the weekend and while I am 10 shots behind the leaders, players have won from this position.
“I do need to go out and shoot a low one in the morning and hopefully I will get rewarded so that is my main goal for tomorrow”.
Padraig Harrington also fought back from a second hole double-bogey to birdie three and four, but stayed below the cut line until a closing hole birdie in a score of 72 to be tied with McIlroy on one-over.
Meanwhile, Paul Dunne looks no closer to ending his miserable run of form after posting horror scores of 80 & 77 for a shock 13-over par total to be lying last in the 131-player field.
Dunne has now missed a ninth cut in 19 events this season including seven in his last nine events going back to May.
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