Rory McIlroy again found his patience heavily tested after only just managing to make the halfway cut in the Travelers Championship at Cromwell, Connecticut.
The World No. 3 continued to struggle with the putter recording a three over par 73 for a level par tally and to be trailing eight shots behind American Jordan Spieth heading to the weekend rounds on the TPC River Highlands course.
McIlroy’s first round of a three under 67 was spoiled by 30 putts while there was little delight on day two in taking 29 putts.
Right from the outset McIlroy began missing a number of birdie putts starting with a 10-footer for birdie at the fourth hole, a 10-footer for par at the next and a near similar length putt on seven also for birdie.
McIlroy made the turn in one over having dropped a shot at the fifth before tumbling to three-over for the day with back-to-back bogeys at 11 and 12.
At the par three, 11th McIlroy found a greenside bunker but took three to get up-and-down whereas at the next he also found a greenside bunker with his second and took three shots to also get up-and-down from just 35-feet.
He found water with his drive down the right of the par five, 13th and then after taking his medicine McIlroy pulled off a super third shot from 244-yard out, and landing his ball just left of the flag and some 17-feet from the hole.
But then McIlroy failed to even hit the hole with his next trudging off with a bland par.
“That would have been a good birdie if I had made that it would have been good as I’d just made two bogeys,” he said.
“But I knew that I got my third up far enough. I was lucky enough that I bounced on the right side of the hazard line so I could at least go for the green in three. I knew I hit a great shot, and I definitely would have walked away with a five. I would have taken a “5” after the tee shot.”
However, it was not all doom-and-gloom with McIlroy grabbing the first birdie of his round firstly in sending a massive 335-yard drive down the 14th, and in clearly what was some statement after the hole before, and then sticking his second just short of the green and chipping-in from 35-feet.
McIlroy drove the green at the par four, 15th and two-putted for birdie from 46-feet.
But at the last, the uphill par four 18th, McIlroy said he lost his footing in hitting his second shot, and also losing all advantage of a 327-yard drive, by advancing his ball some 60-yards and into the rough from where he found the green with this third and two-putted for a bogey “5”.
Bizarrely, McIlroy stood on the 18th green with the Tour showing the cut to be one-under and it was not till after he holed out that it went to level par.
“There are not too many positives I can see right now”, he said.
“I just hope I get another two rounds to play and try to knock a little bit of the rust out of my game.
“I felt pretty good yesterday but then today with the way the conditions were, I think it was tricky in the wind, and in those conditions your weaknesses or parts of your game you need to work on are going to show up and sort of caught me up a few times today.
“Hopefully the cut stays at even par and I get another couple competitive rounds over the weekend”.
Firstly, all credit to McIlroy in speaking to the media and he did well to control his emotions when clearly he was hurting inside.
It led to me bravely ask whether he felt in going back to his hotel room he would kick the cat, if he had a cat, or is his game so close that it just hurts for every one step he seems to take, he takes two steps back.
“I’d never harm an animal, Bernie”, he said.
“No, not really. I mean, I felt like I came back okay. As I said, there were a few loose shots out there. But, yeah, I just hoped I’d sort of wanted to not forget about today, but try to learn from it and hopefully play another couple of rounds to try to take something with me into this stretch over in Europe coming up”.