Rory McIlroy finds one of his very best rounds not enough to survive in Open


The home favourite was roared on by the crowd but his 65 was not enough to repair the damage he inflicted in the first round

A most bittersweet moment this and, when it was over, Rory McIlroy almost seemed unsure whether it had been a victory or defeat. He followed one of the very worst rounds of his career, the error-strewn 79 he shot on day one, with one of the very best, a 65 studded with six birdies, rich with brilliant drives, chips and putts. Add them both together and he had a total of 144, two over par, and one sorry shot away from making the cut and playing the weekend. It was, he said, “one of the most fun rounds of golf” he had ever played and it left him he feeling a weird mix of disappointment, pride and gratitude.

He was not the only one. Almost every last man, woman and child on the course watching him felt similar things. They roared McIlroy around and by the time he reached the back nine they were sprinting on ahead of him and his ball, hundreds of them running pell-mell from one hole to the next to try and get themselves a better view of whatever it was he was about to do. He rewarded them with three back-to-back birdies on the 10th, 11th and 12th and then made them suffer a bogey on the par-three 13th where, full of adrenaline, he dropped his tee-shot in a pot bunker.

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Written by Andy Bull at Royal Portrush
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