Rory McIlroy was heading straight to the practice range after posting a patience-testing 69 on day two of the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Connecticut.
McIlroy managed just two birdies and after battling to secure them for the better part of his round, he dropped a shot near the end to be headed to the clubhouse sharing fourth place at seven-under on the TPC River Highlands course.
At day’s end, McIlroy had slipped to a share of eighth place, three shots behind American Brian Harman (64 & 66) who heads the field by a shot at 10-under par.
Three players – the Americans Zach Johnson (68) and Russell Hendly (65) along with Aussie Matt Jones (66) – share second place on nine-under par while England’s in-form Paul Casey birdied three holes in a row near the end of his round of 65 to be sharing fourth place on eight-under.
A pink-shirted McIlroy had a number of opportunities over his outward half but only saw a red number as he sandwiched a sixth hole birdie in between eight pars.
The World No. 7 moved to eight-under with a birdie at his 11th and then after a run of four pars, including a great eight-foot save on 15, he then three-whacked his 16th.
Then at the last McIlroy leaned over in disbelief, grabbing the back of his ankles when his nine-foot birdie lipped-out.
“I was patient out there today and could have easily got frustrated given I was not playing quite as well as I did yesterday,” he said.
“So, I stayed patient with it as mentally I felt pretty good and you need to do that when you don’t have your best stuff. I just need to now go and do a bit of work on the range and I feel as though I should be ready for the weekend.”
“With what I am working on with my swing, I am just not 100% comfortable as I am thinking a lot about what I am doing. It will probably be a few weeks to where I want it to be but it’s good there is good signs in there and I will keep working on it.”
Padraig Harrington trails just two shots adrif of McIloy after also posting a 69 that included two outward nine birdies and an equal number of bogeys.
The Dubliner, competing on an invitation, booked his place into the weekend rounds with a 10th hole birdie, where he drained a monster 32-foot putt, ahead of eight straight closing pars.
Seamus Power continues to boost his goal of locking-in his Tour card for next year with a three-under par 67 with the effort lifting the West Waterford golfer 43 places and into a then share of 34th place on three-under.
Graeme McDowell improved 28 spots thanks to his second round 68 that included five birdies from his sixth to 15th holes. However, GMac never fully recovered from a horror third and fourth hole where he posted a bogey and a double-bogey in his eventual round of 68 only to miss the two-under par cut-off mark by two shots.
Sadly, after two great finishes on the European Tour, McDowell has now missed the weekend rounds in three PGA Tour events in succession.
McDowell went into the Travelers 137th on the PGA Tour money list and will certainly drop a little further down the rankings.