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McIlroy 10 back after another day of pain at Augusta – News – Irish Golf Desk


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Rory McIlroy will go into the weekend a whopping ten shots off the lead after another day of pain in the Masters at an attritional Augusta National.

The world number two, who is seeking to become just the sixth man to complete the career Grand Slam, carded a five-over 77 as world number one Scottie Scheffler chiselled out a 72 in high winds to join Max Homa and Bryson DeChambeau in a share of the lead on six-under..

The leaders have a two-shot cushion over Dane Nicolai Hojgaard and three shots to spare over Australia’s Cameron Davis, Collin Morikawa and Sweden’s Ludvig Aberg, whose three-under 69 was the best score of a brutally hard afternoon.

McIlroy began the day six shots behind DeChambeau and five behind Scheffler after a hard-fought 71 on Thursday.

But he was on the back foot from the start on day two and while he parred his first four holes, he bogeyed the fifth and seventh to slip to one-over par.

Scheffler played the front nine in level par to remain at six-under and showed his class through the early part of Amen Corner to leave the Co Down man in his wake.

While McIlroy hit a great approach to nine feet at the 10th, Scheffler fired his second to five feet and made the putt after McIlroy’s missed.

After a long delay on the 11th tee, McIlroy found the right side of the fairway but with 194 yards to go into a tricky wind, he came up well short and left in the pond and ran up a double-bogey six to slip 10 shots behind his big rival.

Scheffler would hand a shot back with a visit to Rae’s Creek at the 13th. But McIlroy could make no more in-roads and dropped another shot when his delicate pitch at the 14th ran 20 feet from the hole.

The Holywood star dug deep and parred the last four holes, getting up and down brilliantly for par from sand at the 17th and from left of the green at the 18th after his tee shot hit a tree and went just 202 yards, leaving him 234 yards for his second shot.

McIlroy can take heart from the fact that he made a tricky five-footer at the 17th and a 17-footer at the last.

But at tied 35th, he will need a sensational weekend to catch Scheffler and Co.

With winds gusting up to 39 mph, the 12-hour second day at the 88th Masters is worthy of the moniker.

The scoring average was 75.02, nearly a shot harder than round one but it proved no major problem —on the scorecard at least— for the men at the top of the leaderboard.

Homa, whose lone top 10 in a Major came when he tied for 10th at Royal Liverpool last year, completed a five-under 67 in the morning alongside Tiger Woods, then posted a 71 to set the target at six-under.

He was joined by overnight leader DeChambeau, who shot 73 and insisted he can’t wait to test his game against world number one Scottie Scheffler, who made it a three-way tie at the top with his impressive 72 in the late evening.  

Woods (48) was not to be overshadowed by playing partner Homa and while he dropped two shots in his last five holes to open with a 73, he shot a marvellous 72 in the second round to make the cut on one-over and create more Masters history.

The five-time champion set a new record for consecutive cuts made at 24, finally overhauling 1992 winner Fred Couples.

“It means I have a chance going into the weekend,” said the irrepressible Woods, who began the week by saying he was in town to “get one more” jacket.  “I’m here. I have a chance to win the golf tournament. I don’t know if they’re all going to finish today, but I’m done. I got my two rounds in. Just need some food and some caffeine, and I’ll be good to go.”

He put his 72 down to his short game and vast experience at Augusta.

“A lot of those chip shots I was able to get up-and-down because I left it in the perfect spot, and that’s understanding how to play this golf course,” Woods said.  As for Homa, he was impressed.

“Well, he’s got all the talent in the world,” he said, before adding, “I saw it up front; he doesn’t really mis-hit shots. That’s something you just have to do around this golf course.”

Shane Lowry is the best of the Irish duo, tied for 30th on three-over after rounds of 73 and 74.

“It’s an absolute battle,” Lowry said. “Like (caddie) Darren (Reynolds) said, if you’re talking in boxing terms, walking up 18, he said, you’d think it was round 12 today, not round two. It was tough.”

He added: “The wind is all over the place. I’ve never seen it like this. That was probably the toughest two days of golf that I’ve played. I’ll sleep well tonight.”

“You can be made to look like an idiot out there today by not doing too much wrong.
Look, I’m not overly happy with my two days’ work, but I’m here for the weekend, and I’ll give it a run.”

“You never know what’s going to happen. You see someone shoot 7-under the first day, you automatically think it’s going to be in the teens winning, but not around here.  “So we’ll see what happens over the next two days. Stranger things have happened around here, and mad stuff has happened.”

Defending champion Jon Rahm recovered from a double-bogey six at the 14th and birdied the 15th and 16th before following a bogey at the 17th with a brilliant closing par to shoot 76 and make the cut with a shot to spare on five-over.

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