McIlroy’s hopes of 59 end in watery grave at TPC River Highlands

Ronan MacNamara

Rory McIlroy (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

After dying a death of a thousand pars during the final round of the US Open, Rory McIlroy holed 120 feet of putts as he flirted with a 59 to move into the mix at the halfway stage of the Travelers Championship.

McIlroy responded to a rollercoaster opening 68 with a much improved round of 64 despite carding a late double on the par-3 8th – his 8th.

“Yeah, it was much better,” said McIlroy who moved to eight-under and seven adrift of Denny McCarthy at TPC River Highlands. “Way better on the greens as well. I think when you can get out in the morning here the greens are so much better. They haven’t started to seed yet and they’re not quite as bumpy as the afternoon.


“So feel like you can — there was a lot of 20-footers in the afternoon and you’re just trying to finish by the hole because you don’t want to have the three- and four-footers on way back. You can be a little more aggressive with your putts, and that paid off for me this morning and held quite a few.

“Everything was just a little bit better today. I played more solid, gave myself more opportunities, you know, eradicated most of the mistakes I made yesterday.”

Even though there was some classic McIlroy brilliance with six birdies in eight holes there were some of the usual brain farts that often hamper his progress.

Having birdied the par-3 11th, the four-time major winner saw an eagle putt on the par-5 13th trickle off the green and over a red hazard line although not in the water – he would chip and putt for a par.

McIlroy got to eight-under for the day with three holes to play, raising hopes he could card his first sub-60 career round after Thursday’s hole in one.

However, he parred the 7th before his hopes hit a watery grave on the par-3 8th playing at 177 yards as his tee shot landed short of the green and in the hazard, costing him a five.

“Yeah, so most of the day we’ve been playing the wind out of the sort of southeast. I felt if anything, it might have just moved to the east, which would’ve been straight off the right. I hit my 8-iron 175 yards for the most part, so I thought if I just hit a rally good 8-iron I would get it to pitch pretty much between the front edge of the green and the hole, sort of like what Victor’s did.

“It just got hit by a little bit of wind. The wind just sort of switched on us. Hit a pretty good shot. I just misjudged the wind a little bit and it came up short — the one place you couldn’t miss today on that hole.

“Other than that, it was a really good round of golf.”

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