World No. 2 Rory McIlroy epitomised the phrase two days are never the same in golf in posting a horror second round 74 at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
A day after signing for a ‘could have played the course blindfolded’ 64, McIlroy struggled to fight his way out of a proverbial wet paper bag to be the only player inside the top-10 not to break par on the Jumeirah Estates course.
His two-over par score sent McIlroy tumbling from second on the board back into a share of fifth place at six-under par in the Race to Dubai finale.
Frenchman Mike Lorenzo-Vera, McIlroy’s playing partner, clearly was not about to be intimidated in the company of the 27-time tournament-winning Irishman in adding a 69 to his blistering first round score of 63.
Lorenzo-Vera, 34 is yet to win on the European Tour and would have ended five shots clear had it not been for a bogey on 15 and then three-putting the last from 30-feet for his 12-under par total.
If successful, the Bayonne golfer would pocket a cool $3m first prize cheque, revealing he’s already been on the internet surfing for a suitable reward.
“Last night I was trying to get that amount of money out of my head but it did not want to so I accepted it and then went on to the internet to see what car I’d buy if I won,” he said smiling.
“And it would be a Ferrari F12 TDF.” ‘
The cost of the V-12, 769bh Italian stallion is a few Euro short of 500,000.
England’s Tommy Fleetwood is now projected to become European No. 1 after a second round 68 to be tied in second place with Spaniard Jon Rahm (69) at nine-under par.
McIlroy, a day after grabbing an eagle and seven birdies, could manage just two birdies along with the same number of bogeys and a double-bogey at the par-3 sixth where he found the water guarding the green.
“It’s the nature of this game as you can have 64 one day and then … it’s just a fickle game,” he said.
“I’ve always said that one day it can seem very easy and someone up there (looking skywards) says, ‘No, not so fast’, and brings you back down to earth.
“That’s golf. I battled through it. I’m still in with a shout to have a go at winning this tournament. Just need to stick the head down over the weekend and get in there and try to shoot a couple of good scores.”
Shane Lowry headed to the scorer’s hut with disappointment clearly etched on his face as hopes further dried-up in the Dubai desert in becoming European No. 1.
Lowry grabbed the second round start he desperately needed in birdieing the opening three holes and then muscled his way to six-under for the round through 14 holes only to bogey 16 and 18 in a round of 68 at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship.
The Open Champion’s 36-hole three-under par tally handed him a share of 13th place for Lowry to be now projected to end the year No. 4 on the money list.
“I am just very disappointed with my finish over the last few holes as I had a very good score going to be playing my way nicely back into the tournament,” he said.
“It was just a bit of a kick in the teeth the way I finished the round but then what can you do.
“I played alright today and was happy enough, as I went out there and did all that I needed to do in getting off to a good start, and kept it going but standing here right now I am very disappointed.
“Never mind as I will get out there tomorrow and try and do the same, and just keep at.”
Lowry was paired with recent Turkish Airlines Open champ, Tyrrell Hatton and the pair clearly were enjoying each other’s company, well at least for the opening six or so holes before Hatton imploded with a pair of doubles to end the day with a 79 and last place in the 50-only field.
“I was really enjoying myself early on and having a good time out there with Tyrrell (Hatton) as I get on with him but then he had a very different day than I did,” said Lowry.
“He didn’t play well today but he won recently in Turkey, so overall he’s in good form and overall I enjoyed it but I’m just bitterly disappointed right now given the way I finished.
“It is just what this game has been doing to me the last few weeks. It almost feels like I have been doing the right things and not just getting rewarded.”
Full scoring HERE