Fanling, Hong Kong – World No 1 and defending champion Rory McIlroy was set to miss the cut at the Hong Kong Open on Friday after suffering a nightmare with his putter.
The 23-year-old Northern Irishman knew he had to shoot low in the second round after opening with a three-over-par 73 at the Hong Kong Golf Club on Thursday.
Starting from the 11th tee, he did just that producing four early birdies to get under par and within four shots of the lead.
However, at the par five third hole, his 11th of the day, he put his approach shot into a greenside bunker and after missing out on a good birdie opportunity, his charge up the leaderboard came to a halt.
A putt to save par at the fourth hole lipped out, at the seventh he misjudged the speed of the green and three putted and another shot was dropped on the following green when he put his first putt six foot past the hole and failed to hole the return.
He was on the projected three-over-par cutline as he played the tenth, his final hole of the day.
But he missed a birdie chance and went on to four-putt the hole for a double bogey to cap a frustrating two-over 72 round and a 145 total.
“The wheels came at that par five, it was a huge momentum breaker,” McIlroy, who sealed the European Tour's money list last week with a third-place finish in Singapore told reporters.
“I had a great start getting it to four-under and in a position from which I might have even won the tournament but then it all went on the slide.
“Now I am going to work on few things with my putter before playing in Dubai next week,” said the U.S. PGA champion.
In the group that finished after McIlroy, Anders Hansen from Denmark shot a six-under-par 64 to move into the early second round lead at seven-under. – Reuters