Rory McIlroy moves in the right direction to contend in the BMW Championship

Second successive 68 puts him firmly in the chasing pack, helped by a chip-in birdie on the final hole

Rory McIlroy may be cast in the role of pursuer, but the world number three had his game face on as he navigated his way around Wilmington Country Club in Delaware in the second round of the BMW Championship — the second of three FedEx Cup playoff tournaments — to remain very much in the mix after a second successive 68 for a midway total of 136, six-under-par.

As Masters champion and world number one Scottie Scheffler claimed the clubhouse lead on 135, and Australian Adam Scott worked his magic out the course, the Northern Irishman was very satisfied with his day’s work with time over the weekend to make further progress.

While this round contained none of the drama that featured in incurring a triple-bogey six on the 12th hole in his opening round, with McIlroy actually getting some payback with a lovely 6-iron tee shot to three feet for a birdie on that Par 3, a scorecard which contained five birdies and two bogeys — boosted by a chip-in birdie on the final hole — left him well placed to contend over the second half of the tournament.

Of bouncing back from that triple-bogey on the 12th to respond with a birdie on day two, McIlroy revealed a brief conversation with his caddie Harry Diamond. “I said to Harry walking off the green, ‘if I can make two more twos on that hole, we’ll play it even par for the week’.”


With no cut in this 68-man field, and only the leading 30 players on the FedEx Cup standings progressing to next week’s Tour Championship where a $18 million jackpot awaits the ultimate champion, McIlroy — who missed the cut in Memphis last week — recovered from an early bogey on the second to make his way up the leaderboard.

“It’s funny, I probably didn’t play quite as well today as I did yesterday but ended up shooting the same score. I’m probably coming off the golf course a lot happier than I was last night after dropping a few those last few holes and today picking a couple up.

“I’m really happy with how I played today. I bounced back well. I made an early bogey, was able to bounce back after that, made a bogey on the par-5 14th, bounced back with two nice birdies the last four holes. It’s getting tricky. It’s getting firm. It’s only going to continue to get that way over the weekend, so it’s nice to be in position,” said McIlroy.

Shane Lowry, who opened with a 66, was even par on this second round to remain on five-under (in tied ninth) through 13 holes, while Séamus Power picked up two shots through 12 holes to move to tied-31st at that point.

On the DP World Tour, Malaysia’s Gavin Green shot a superb second round 63 for a midway total of 14-under-par 130 to claim a three-stroke lead in the D+D Real Czech Open in Prague where two Irish players — Cormac Sharvin (69 for 140, tied-35th) and David Carey (70 for 141, tied-48th) survived the cut.

In the Irish Legends tournament on the European Seniors Tour, Paul McGinley — the tournament host — carded a second round 72 for 141 at Rosapenna in Co Donegal to lie in tied-second, one stroke behind leader Steen Tinning of Denmark heading into the final round.

Philip Reid

Philip Reid

Philip Reid is Golf Correspondent of The Irish Times