Rory surrenders lead after back nine clangers as Power finds groove with 65

Ronan MacNamara
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Rory McIlroy plays a shot on the tenth hole during the second round of Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy is six shots off the halfway lead at the Travelers Championship after he saw his lead disappear on the back nine of his second round. 

McIlroy was leading on thirteen-under before carding a calamitous quadruple-bogey eight on the 12th and a double-bogey six on the 15th as he saw six shots disappear in the blink of an eye. 

The four-time major champion was pleased with the good golf he played but lamented some wayward fairway wood shots that cost him those six shots as he settled for a level-par 72. 

“Yeah, I mean, seven birdies is a good thing. But, yeah, I mean, I had a four-hole stretch there on the back nine where I lost obviously two fairway — well, three fairway wood shots are what cost me. 

“For whatever reason I haven’t been comfortable with my fairway woods the last couple weeks. You know, I just hit three loose ones there, two on 12 and then the one on 15. That was really it. I played well the rest of the way. Obviously got off to that great start. 

“I thought I came back well. I made a good putt for 6 on 15 and then birdied 16. Yeah, I should be closer to the lead. Feel like I let a lot of guys into the golf tournament because of it. 

“But, you know, it’s still only two rounds. There are two rounds left and a lot of golf left. 

“Yeah, you know, I just need to get off to the start I got off to today again. And, yeah, I mean, I don’t know, I think I’m six behind Xander, but I think second place is either 9- or 10-under. 

“There is a lot of time left and I know that there is so many birdies on the golf course for me. It’s just a matter of not trying to force the issue, stay patient, and if I keep playing the golf I know I can play, I’ll hopefully get a little closer to that lead,” added McIlroy who is making his fourth appearance at TPC River Highlands. 

McIlroy is alongside Seamus Power on eight-under after the Waterford native roared through the field with a five-under 65 and his 36-hole total seems a lot better than McIlroy’s given where the pair started the day. 

Both players are in a share of eighth place, six adrift of Xander Schauffele but only one shot shy of second place. 

Power who will be in the Horizon Irish Open field next week was pleased with how well he hit the ball in his second round and is hoping for more of the same this weekend. 

“I hit it much better today. I was much more in control. Yesterday was funny, I played well on my front side, the back, and then was very loose on the back side. 

“It was much better today. Felt much more in control. Had more chances, and it wasn’t quite able to really get it going but still a very solid round and happy with it. 

“I just have general overall confidence that I can figure out a way of getting the ball around the course. That’s all you have to do. Yesterday I didn’t play my best at all but I still had a good score for the afternoon wave, and it really got me in a good spot going into this morning, where in the past that might have been 1-, 2-over and I would have been too worried about how I was hitting it, and all of a sudden you’re on the cut line and things are tough.  

“Golf is funny like that; it’s usually only small margins, and if you can just get on the right side of that margin, things can seem a lot easier.” 

Patrick Cantlay and defending champion Harris English are part of a five-way tie for second but everyone is looking up at Schauffele who bounced back from a disappointing weekend at the US Open with succcessive rounds of 63 to lead on –14. 

 Scores HERE

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