Two-time FedEx Cup champion Rory McIlroy was again well off key with a bad case of the Memphis golfing blues and looking at missing the cut in the FedEx St.Jude Championship.
McIlroy bogeyed two of his closing four holes in posting a one-under 69 to end his opening 36-holes at one-under and one shot shy of the lunchtime projected cut of two-under in the $15m event on the TPC Southwind course.
It left McIlroy, and in his first event since going so close to success at the Home of Golf, sharing 68th place and with the leading 67 in the 119-player field making the last cut of the 2021/22 season.
McIlroy found himself again being left short-changed with the longest club in his hand, hitting just six of 14 fairways and that’s only one more than Thursday.
Starting from the 10th, McIlroy was two-under after six holes with birdies at the 11th and 15th holes before a bogey at the 18th ahead of back-to-back birdies at the first and second holes, the pick of the pair being a booming 328-yard drive down the first or the 10th of his round, and then landing his 73-yard second shot to 20-inches for a birdie ‘3’.
However, it turned pear-shaped for McIlroy with bogeys at his 15th and final holes, and taking a ‘5’ at the last, the par-4 ninth, where his second shot was way long, and then missing the green with his third and two-putting.
If McIlroy does miss the cut, it will be only the second time in 14 PGA Tour events this year, after sitting out the weekend rounds last March at the Valero Texas Open.
No concern for Shane Lowry signing for a second straight score of 68 to move into a then clubhouse share of 32nd, and with Lowry grabbing six birdies, including four in six holes from his 11th to 16th holes.
However, Lowry is projected to drop five places to 33rd on the FedEx Cup standings.
Waterford’s Seamus Power will have the weekend off with scores of 71 and 73, and while projected to drop 11 places to 35th on the money-list there’s no real issue as he’s well inside the top-70 heading next week to the BMW Championship in Delaware.
Austrian Sepp Straka was the early day two clubhouse leader adding a 66 to his opening 64 for the 29-year-old and reigning Honda Classic winner moving to 10-under.
Straka superbly birdied four of his closing five holes but had no idea where the burst of brilliance came from.
“I don’t know as I kind of struggled a little bit on the front nine with trying to get it close,” he said. “I hit a lot of fairways, which is the key out here. Didn’t get myself into much trouble and was able to take advantage on those last few, hitting some irons close and making some putts”.