Rory McIlroy all but blew away his chances of a first British Open victory in yesterday’s second round, but insisted he could still make up enough lost ground at the weekend to win a second major.
The 23-year-old Ulsterman was out of sorts all day at a damp and cold Royal Lytham, firing three bogeys and one double bogey against two birdies to come in with a five-over par 75. That left him at two over for the tournament and just under the projected line for the cut. “It wasn’t the best day out there,” he agreed.
McIlroy started steadily enough, but the first sign that things were not quite right came on the third when he nearly clobbered the caddie of Japan’s Toshinori Muto who was standing at the side of the fourth tee.
On the par-three ninth he hit into a deep bunker and took two to get out of sand saturated by heavy overnight rain. His second effort sailed past the hole and he took two putts from there. McIlroy had a couple of birdie chances in the finishing stretch, but this time it was his putter that let him down as came off trailing leader Brandt Snedeker, who was still on the course, by 12 strokes at that stage. Still the World No 2 said that he was not out of it yet.
“Snedeker is a little bit ahead at the minute, but I feel like if I can maybe get it back to where I was at the start of the day today, somewhere around there, three, four under going into Sunday, I think I’d still have a great chance,” he said.
Snedeker took command with a stunning six-under par 64, matching the low 36-hole total in Open history and the 18-hole course record. He equalled the record two-round low set by Nick Faldo in 1992 at Muirfield.
The 31-year-old American, who missed the cut in each of his three prior British Open starts, reached the clubhouse on 10-under 130, four strokes ahead of first-day leader Adam Scott and Paul Lawrie of Scotland. Tiger Woods was in a group on 67 that was scheduled to start later.