Rory McIlroy admits US Open challenge was blown off course early

Irish challenge ends at Shinnecock Hills as McDowell and Lowry also bow out

 Rory McIlroy drives  from the 13th tee during the second round of the US Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club  in Southampton, New York. Photograph: Warren Little/Getty Images

Rory McIlroy drives from the 13th tee during the second round of the US Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, New York. Photograph: Warren Little/Getty Images

 

Rory McIlroy pursed his lips and, in clear frustration, blew through them in assessing how he would respond to a missed cut in this US Open on a favoured golfing terrain, a links he described as among his favourite anywhere in the world.

Finally, the words followed as he sought to paint a picture of his exasperation, of figuring out how he would prepare for future US Opens after missing the cut for a third successive year.

“I don’t know,” he replied. “My game was in good shape. Everything was sort of clicking [in the build-up]. My short game was there. My long game was there. I didn’t feel like I played that bad. I just wasn’t prepared to play in the wind.”

And, there, in a nutshell McIlroy put his finger on the problem. He was blown away by the wind in Thursday’s first round – when he struggled to an opening 80 – and a second round of 70 left him on 150, 10 over par, at the 36-holes cut which fell on 148. All three Irish players in the field missed out, with Graeme McDowell (149) and Shane Lowry (154) consigned to their fate earlier.

For all of his preparations, which involved settling in the Hamptons for a week and playing courses like National and Friar’s Head along with Shinnecock Hills to get acquainted with the elements on this neck of Long Island, McIlroy was caught on the hop by the wind which swept across Shinnecock for Thursday’s first round. “I hadn’t played in wind like that for a while and that was what really got me,” he admitted.

With his fate pretty much assured, McIlroy did belatedly find birdies on the run-in of his second round – on the 11th, 13th, 16th and 18th holes – which only added to the sense of exasperation.

“It feels like the last few years, it feels like I target three [Majors] and this one is a write-off, it is tough. Every time you come into a US Open it is tough. I felt like my game was all there. I showed glimpses of it on the back nine today, I just wish I had handled the conditions a bit better [on Thursday].”

McIlroy’s next outing will be in the Travelers on the PGA Tour next week, ahead of playing the role of tournament host at the DDF Irish Open at Ballyliffin next month.

With McIlroy among a number of big name casualties – Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and Tiger Woods were also among those to miss the cut – world number one Dustin Johnson carried a four-stroke lead into the third round over his fellow Americans Charley Hoffman and Scott Piercy.

A quintet of players – featuring defending champion Brooks Koepka, along with Justin Rose, Ian Poulter (who had a miserable finish, making a triple bogey on his penultimate hole and bogeying the last), Tommy Fleetwood and Henrik Stenson – lay in a share of fourth place, five shots behind Johnson.

LEADERBOARD
USA unless stated, par 70, (a) denotes amateurs
136
Dustin Johnson 69 67
140 Charley Hoffman 71 69, Scott Piercy 69 71
141 Brooks Koepka 75 66, Justin Rose (Eng) 71 70, Tommy Fleetwood (Eng) 75 66, Ian Poulter (Eng) 69 72, Henrik Stenson (Swe) 71 70
142 Russell Henley 69 73, Rickie Fowler 73 69
143 Marc Leishman (Aus) 74 69, Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eng) 73 70, Charles Howell III 71 72
144 Pat Perez 73 71, Jason Dufner 70 74, Alex Noren (Swe) 72 72, Brian Harman 74 70, Justin Thomas 74 70, Jim Furyk 73 71, Mickey DeMorat 72 72, Calum Hill (Sco) 75 69, Patrick Rodgers 72 72, Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Esp) 73 71, Tyler Duncan 77 67, Russell Knox (Sco) 73 71
145 Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn) 75 70, Branden Grace (Rsa) 76 69, Ryan Fox (Nzl) 73 72, Brendan Steele 72 73, Bryson DeChambeau 76 69, Jimmy Walker 75 70, Tyrrell Hatton (Eng) 75 70, (a) Will Grimmer 73 72, Patrick Reed 73 72
146 Andrew Johnston (Eng) 73 73, Zach Johnson 73 73, Xander Schauffele 72 74, Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) 74 72, Dylan Meyer 77 69, Patrick Cantlay 75 71, Aaron Baddeley (Aus) 74 72, Phil Mickelson 77 69, Paul Casey (Eng) 73 73, Chris Naegel 73 73
147 Francesco Molinari (Ita) 75 72, Ross Fisher (Eng) 76 71, Brian Gay 73 74, Byeong-Hun An (Kor) 71 76, (a) Luis Gagne (Crc) 73 74, Kevin Chappell 75 72, Webb Simpson 76 71, Daniel Berger 76 71, Haotong Li (Chn) 79 68, Tony Finau 75 72, Peter Uihlein 75 72, Sam Burns 71 76, (a) Matt Parziale 74 73
148 Steve Stricker 73 75, Cameron Wilson 75 73, Matthieu Pavon (Fra) 71 77, Gary Woodland 79 69, Tim Wilkinson (Nzl) 76 72, Dean Burmester (Rsa) 75 73, Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha) 76 72, Bill Haas 76 72, Brandt Snedeker 72 76, Jhonattan Vegas (Ven) 76 72
Missed Cut
149
Matt Wallace (Eng) 77 72, Graeme McDowell (NIrl) 79 70, Eric Axley 73 76, Lucas Glover 77 72, Lanto Griffin 76 73, Matthew Southgate (Eng) 77 72, (a) Braden Thornberry 76 73, Si Woo Kim (Kor) 73 76, Chez Reavie 75 74, Jason Scrivener (Aus) 78 71, Emiliano Grillo (Arg) 76 73, Thorbjorn Olesen (Den) 76 73, Roberto Castro 75 74, Sungjae Im (Kor) 76 73, Jordan Spieth 78 71
150 Shubhankar Sharma (Ind) 74 76, Sebastian Vazquez (Mex) 77 73, Brian Stuard 74 76, Rory McIlroy (NIrl) 80 70, Tiger Woods 78 72, (a) Tyler Strafaci 78 72, Matthew Jones (Aus) 76 74
151 Will Zalatoris 80 71, Aaron Wise 77 74, Tom Lewis (Eng) 79 72, Bubba Watson 77 74, Chesson Hadley 76 75, Cameron Smith (Aus) 79 72, Sebastian Munoz (Col) 80 71, Mackenzie Hughes (Can) 76 75
152 Jason Day (Aus) 79 73, Luke List 75 77, Cole Miller 78 74, Charl Schwartzel (Rsa) 79 73, Ollie Schniederjans 76 76, Matt Kuchar 74 78, Danny Willett (Eng) 75 77, Kevin Kisner 77 75
153 Trey Mullinax 79 74, Richie Ramsay (Sco) 77 76, Adam Scott (Aus) 78 75, David Bransdon (Aus) 79 74, Doug Ghim (a) 79 74, Sung-joon Park (Kor) 81 72
154 Harold Varner III 79 75, Scott Stallings 80 74, Kyle Stanley 75 79, Paul Waring (Eng) 78 76, Michael Putnam 78 76, Christopher Babcock 78 76, Ted Potter, Jr. 76 78, Shane Lowry (Irl) 75 79, Sergio Garcia (Esp) 75 79, (a) Rhett Rasmussen 80 74
155 Keegan Bradley 81 74, Michael Miller 77 78, (a) Stewart Hagestad 81 74, Jon Rahm (Esp) 78 77, Wen-chong Liang (Chn) 79 76
156 Richy Werenski 76 80, (a) Jacob Bergeron 81 75, Ryan Evans (Eng) 78 78, (a) Theo Humphrey 84 72
157 (a) Chun An Yu (Tpe) 76 81, Alexander Levy (Fra) 77 80, Lucas Herbert (Aus) 83 74, David Gazzolo 76 81, Ernie Els (Rsa) 78 79
158 Satoshi Kodaira (Jpn) 81 77, (a) Garrett Rank (Can) 83 75, (a) Kristoffer Reitan (Nor) 81 77, (a) Timothy Wiseman 83 75, Rikuya Hoshino (Jpn) 79 79, Adam Hadwin (Can) 83 75, Martin Kaymer (Ger) 83 75, James Morrison (Eng) 81 77, Kenny Perry 79 79, (a) Franklin Huang 82 76, (a) Ryan Lumsden (Sco) 82 76, Dylan Frittelli (Rsa) 78 80
159 (a) Harry Ellis (Eng) 80 79, Sulman Raza 82 77, (a) Shintaro Ban 81 78, Shota Akiyoshi (Jpn) 82 77, (a) Noah Goodwin 81 78
160 Michael Hebert 87 73
161 (a) Philip Barbaree 82 79
163 Michael Block 85 78
167 Scott Gregory (Eng) 92 75

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