Rory McIlroy produced a brighter second round putting display but needs to ignite that McIlroy spark heading into the weekend rounds of the Workday WGC at The Concession at Bradenton in Florida.
McIlroy posted just 24 putts, including recording seven one-putts in succession mid-round, for a second day 70 and a five-under par tally on the Nicklaus/Jacklin designed layout.
It left the current World No. 8 six shots adrift of Brooks Koepka who, despite a sloppy final hole bogey, needed only 25 putts in signing for a 66. That left Koepka at an 11-under tally and setting the pace as he is is seeking a second PGA Tour title in his last three events after claiming the Waste Management Phoenix Open last earlier this month.
“My putting has been the big key,” said Koepka. “I was getting too technical, so I’m taking it a little more what feels inside, and then kind of releasing the putter head as the downswing starts,” said Koepka. “If it goes straight back, it gets a little shut. So, the change has been good and I like where it’s at”.
Three players – Aussie Cam Smith (66), sporting his unruly ‘mullet’ haircut, and the American duo of US Open champ, Collin Morikawa (64) and Billy Horschel (67) share second place at 10-under par. McIlroy went into day two of the Euro 8.7m event at three-under and despite an opening hole bogey, he picked up birdies at three and six only to give both shots back in taking a double-bogey ‘7’ at the seventh.
He bounced back superbly with three birdies from his ninth to 12th holes and while he bogeyed 14, McIlroy then birdied both 16 and 17, where he drained a 15-footer, ahead of a closing bogey from a greenside bunker.
“It’s disappointing to close out with a drop shot but I played well today”. Said McIlroy. “Yeah, it’s frustrating because you come off the course thinking you could be a few shots lower than you were. I holed some good putts out there today and that’s a positive moving into the weekend”
Shane Lowry was again steady without too much brilliance managing three birdies and just the one bogey in a two-under 70 to be just inside the top-30 at two-under par.
New American golfing golden boy Matthew Wolff did not return for round two following Thursday’s shock 83 and with the 21-year-old Californian still to earn Euro 26,000 for just 18 holes.
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