There were no happy returns for Shane Lowry and Graeme McDowell as the pair missed the weekend cut at the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas.
Scoring has been hot amongst the Lone Star State field with players quick to take advantage over an eerily quiet par-70 Colonial club over the opening 36-holes.
Sadly neither McDowell nor Lowry could quite fire to that required standard, though GMac came close, registering rounds of 69 and 70 for a one-under par total that missed the weekend mark by a single stroke.
Lowry meanwhile wasn’t quite so unfortunate as the Open Champion failed to find a spark over two days in Texas. The Clara man managed just one birdie on Friday and went out with a splash when finding the water on his 36th hole before racking up a double.
Lowry signed for rounds of 71 and 73 to miss the cut by many on plus-four.
There were no such fears for world number one Rory McIlroy who picked up where he left off pre-lockdown with some sumptuous golf around Colonial on day two.
It was a driving masterclass from McIlroy who moved to within two shots of Harold Varner III’s lead after the Holywood star carded an eagle and six birdies in a seven-under 63 to move to nine-under par.
“It was really good and I felt like I built my score really well,” said McIlroy.
“I took advantage of some of the easier holes. I played conservatively on some of the tougher ones, especially three, four and five, the horrible horseshoe. I made three of my pars there and moved on and then birdied the next two holes. Just smart, played to my strengths, put it in play and gave myself plenty of chances.
“I felt pretty comfortable out there, and hopefully I can do the exact same thing over the next two days.”
McIlroy and caddy, Harry Diamond are staying the week in a rented house rather than the confines of the strictly-controlled official hotels and it was working on a golf simulator that helped turn around his game.
“Actually, the rental home we’re staying in this week has a simulator in the basement, and I actually hit a few balls in there last night, and that helped,” he said.
“Also, as it’s so hot here in Fort Worth, you don’t want to take too much energy out of yourself.
“So, the fact that where we’re staying has a simulator and you can hit some shots into the — I guess get some numbers, I just needed to sort of dial them in a little bit.
“I did that last night, and it seemed to help this morning.”
Full scoring HERE