McDowell cut at Bethpage; McIlroy relieved ankle injury in the past

McDowell cut at Bethpage; McIlroy relieved ankle injury in the past

Graeme McDowell's Ryder Cup wildcard hopes suffered a potential blow when he missed the cut by three strokes in The Barclays at Bethpage State Park’s Black Course.

The Portrush man added a 76 to his opening 72 to finish on six over par, possibly damaging his chance of getting one of Darren Clarke's three wildcards on Tuesday.

World No 5 Rory McIlroy, meanwhile, threatened to shoot his first bogey free round on the PGA Tour since March before two late bogeys forced him to settle for a two under 69 that left him tied for 19th, three behind clubhouse leader Ryan Moore.

After playing superbly to be four under for the day with five holes to go, the world No 5 three putted the 15th from nearly 60 feet, then failed from 15 feet for par at the next having plugged his approach under the lip of a bunker.

Revealing later that he’s finally hitting the ball with 100 percent commitment following last year’s ankle ligament injury, he added that his putting is slowly coming around.

“It felt better than it did yesterday,” he said after using the blade 31 times. “You have to hole a few to get under par on this golf course, and I held a couple. I actually held (sic) a couple of good ones for par on the back nine to keep the momentum going.

“It's a work-in-progress but it's getting better. As long as I keep seeing improvements, I'll be happy.”

McIlroy is tied for 18th on two under par, six strokes behind Patrick Reed whose rounds of 66 and 68 gave him a two shot lead over Emiliano Grillo (69) and Rickie Fowler (69) on eight under.


Rickie FowlerHis long game looks good and he admitted that's because he is finally hitting the ball uninhibited by the remnants of the ankle injury he picked up playing football, missing last year's Open at St Andrews.

"One of the big things I am really excited about is that my numbers are back up where they were before the ankle injury," he told Sky Sports.

"Even after playing last year and the first part of this year,  my ball speed and swing speed wasn't quite up to where I wanted it to be.  But now I can fully commit and I am really happy with that.

"My ball-striking has been good and my wedge play hasn't been as good as wanted it to be. But off the tee and approach play from 150 and out has been great. The things I need to work on are from 150 and in and the putting."

Challenge Tour — There was also a 10-shot swing for an Irish player on the Challenge Tour with Mount Juliet’s Kevin Phelan following his opening 64 with a 74 to slip back to tied 23rd alongside Chris Selfridge (68) on six under, 11 strokes behind Belgium’s Thomas Detry. 

Waterville’s Mark Murphy was the only other Irish player to make the weekend, surviving the four-under par cut on the mark.