Rory McIlroy made the cut by the skin of his teeth in his defence of the Deutsche Bank Championship after a double bogey seven at the 18th left him sweating all day at TPC Boston.
The world No 4 had another mixed round, carding four birdies and two bogeys in the first 17 holes before a risky approach to the last backfired.
After finding the left rough off the tee, McIlroy had 242 yards to the pin and a hazard to carry. Desperate to make headway up the leaderboard, he decided to go for it, but failed to make the carry with a four iron.
“I thought I could carry the water,” a frustrated McIlroy said afterward. “It didn’t come off the way I wanted it to.”
“It feels like I can’t get anywhere away from even par,” added McIlroy who has had eight bogeys and 10 birdies in the first two rounds. “I’m getting a little frustrated and impatient because of that.
After a drop, he hit his fourth 90 yards over the back and took three more to get down, adding a level par 71 to his opening 70 to finish on one under par.
He was hovering on the cut mark all evening but never looked in real danger of missing the weekend and further damaging his chances of making it to the Tour Championship, eventually finishing the day tied for 67th on one under.
Graeme McDowell was in a similar position to McIlroy at the 18th, his ninth, but decided to lay up and got up and down for his birdie en route to a crucial five under par 66 that left him tied for 45th on four under.
The Top 70 in the FedEx Cup standings after this week’s event will qualify for the third leg of the play-offs, BMW Championship at Conway Farms GC in Illinois in a fortnight.
Only the top 30 points winners will qualify for the Tour Championship and both McIlroy and McDowell are currently outside the pale.
Ranked 36th at the start of the week, McIlroy is projected to fall to 48th if he remains near the back of the field in Boston while McDowell is projected to fall to 48th.
According to PGA Tour.com, ten players who came to TPC Boston ranked outside the top 70 were eliminated from the Playoffs when they missed the cut: No. 71 John Rollins, No. 78 Martin Flores, No. 79 Scott Brown, No. 81 Luke Guthrie, No. 82 Robert Garrigus, No. 83 Derek Ernst, No. 88 Brian Harman, No. 93 Greg Chalmers, No. 94 Erik Compton and No. 99 William McGirt. … Two of those — Brown and Ernst — won PGA TOUR events this year. … Chalmers and Compton had played their way into the Deutsche Bank Championship last week at The Barclays.
As for the tournament, Sergio Garcia shot a seven under 64 to lead by a shot on 13-under 129 from Roberto Castro and Henrik Stenson, who can overtake Graeme McDowell as world No 9 tomorrow.
FedExCup leader Tiger Woods, in the 1-2-3-ranked grouping with Adam Scott and Mickelson that attracted massive galleries, made a 35-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole for a 67 and was among those within six shots of the lead, tied for 20th on seven under
Mickelson stole the show with a rollercoaster 71 that dropped him to tied nitnh on eight under.
“I was playing terrible, and I shot even par,” Mickelson said. “I could easily have shot myself out of the tournament. I got it in the hazard I don’t know how many times. If I go on and play the way I believe I’m going to this weekend, I’m going to look back at those nine holes as the key to the entire tournament.”
According to PGATOUR.com, “his recovery shot on the 11th was so good that Mickelson didn’t bother explaining it.
“From a patchy lie, just inside 100 feet from the flag, the pin close to the edge, he took a full, hard swing with a wedge and hit it with so much spin that it rolled back to a few feet of the cup.”