Rory McIroy’s hope of a first successful tournament defence of his professional career faded with a bogey-laden 73 on a wet and miserable day two of the Wells Fargo Championship in Maryland.
After his encouraging opening score of a three-under 67, it was disappointing three-over 73 in steady rain on the first-time hosting of the $9m event TPC Potomac course.
It was a tough start for the three-time tournament-winning McIlroy with three bogeys in seven holes before birdies at 10 and 14, only to spoil any gain with bogeys on 15 and 17.
It left McIlroy trailing 10 shots behind Ohio-based Aussie Jason Day who signed for a three-under 67 to lead by three shots as the past World No. 1 seeks a first victory in four years.
“I’m looking forward to it,” said Day ahead of the weekend “It’s nice to be back in the mix, nice to be leading. It’s still two more days left, so I can’t get too far ahead of myself.”
Day has a dozen wins on the PGA Tour capped by his 2015 PGA Championship success at Whistling Straits. His last victory toast was aboard the Wells Fargo winning coach in 2018.
And with more rain and unseasonable cold and stronger winds forecasted on Saturday plus even colder temperatures Sunday, Day know he has his work cut out to get the ‘W’.
“From what I hear, I hear tomorrow’s worse than today in regards to the weather”, said a hapless Day. “I’ve just got to try and be as patient as possible. I feel like the swing itself is in a nice spot, just be patient with it and just go out and try and hit the ball and find it”.
And Day explained why was not wearing a cap, and he got a tip from playing partner Max Homa, who was his closest pursuer after a 66. Homa told Day he flinched because water dripped from the bill of his cap onto his putter, causing him to ram his birdie putt 6 feet by on the par-4 18th that they were playing as their ninth. Homa tossed the hat to his caddie Joe Greiner before making the holing the return putt.
Seamus Power has the weekend off for an eighth occasion in 18 events on the 2021/22 season after carding a pair of 73s.
Sticking out like a sore thumb on his card is an opening hole, and the 10th on the card, triple bogey ‘8’ despite four birdies in his round.