Even Homer nods sometimes and it was no different for red-hot favourite Rory McIlroy as he crashed to a four over par 75 in the second qualifying round of the Radission-SAS West of Ireland Amateur Open at Rosses Point.

Despite glorious conditions, the 17 year old Holywood tyro admitted that his concentration let him down as he qualified for the first matchplay round today with more pain than glory.

After opening with an error-strewn 69, McIlroy’s 36-hole total of two over par 144 left him six shots adrift of clubhouse leader and fellow international Shane Lowry of Esker Hills.

But McIlroy knows that the championship proper does not start until today and he is hoping that he’ll be up for it when he sees the whites of his opponent’s eyes in the ‘mano-a-mano’ of matchplay combat.

“I played okay on the way in,” said McIlroy, who bogeyed the first and then double bogeyed the short third after missing the green right and watching his chip up the bank run back to his feet.

He slipped to four over par after a being forced to pitch out sideways from a fairway bunker at the eighth and while he birdied the 11th and 12th, he plugged his tee shot in a bunker at the par-three 13th to run up another double bogey before parring his way home.

McIlroy was watched for a few holes by Ryder Cup star Paul McGInley, who stopped off to see his brother Michael in action before heading up to Donegal for a holiday,

“Tomorrow it will be okay because it is matchplay but this is strokeplay and you just have to make the top 64,” McIlroy added. “It would be nice to be the leading qualifier but as they say, the leading qualifier never wins.

“I should really go out with the mindset of winning the qualifying but I just lost a bit of concentration. I hit a couple of loose drives early on but I got it back on the back nine and hit a few really good irons shots and few nice drives ones. Everything else seems pretty good and If I can hole a few putts, which you usually do in matchplay, I will be okay I think.

“I just need to get my head in it a bit more tomorrow and knuckle down. The course is still quite tough because it is bouncy and getting bouncier all the time. It is still playing at its easiest because there is no rough and the greens are not that firm.”

Clara native Lowry was disqualified at the same stage last year when he signed for a wrong score when leading in the clubhouse.

But the 20-year-old the son of former Offaly football great Brendan made no such mistake this time, though he did drop four shots in a row from the 14th to turn a possible 66 into a 70.

After opening with a 68, the Irish international found himself two strokes clear of the rest of the field on 138 but as McIlroy knows, the real action does not start until today.

Clubhouse scores
Radisson-SAS West of Ireland Amateur Open (36 hole qualifying)
138 S Lowry (UCD/Esker Hills) 68 70
140 L Lennox (Moyola Park) 71 69, N Kearney (Royal Dublin) 70 70, A McCloy (Ballymena) 70 70, R Leonard (Banbridge) 68 72
141 R Kilpatrick (Banbridge) 71 70, C O’Connor (UCD/Athlone) 71 70, R Boal (Scrabo) 70 71, R McNamara (Headfort) 69 72
142 A Condren (Greystones) 73 69, D Kelleher (Portmarnock) 71 71, G McDermott (Co Sligo) 71 71
143 K O’Neill (Strandhill) 73 70, C Curley (Newlands) 73 70
144 E McCormack (Galway) 76 68, D Lernihan (UCD/Castle) 73 71, H Diamond (Holywood) 72 72, D Vaughan (Ardglass) 71 73, D Scully (Galway) 71 73, W McCully (Donaghadee) 70 74, R McIlroy (Holywood) 69 75, A Hogan (Newlands/UCD) 69 75, P McGrath (Dromoland) 69 75
145 E O’Sullivan (The Island) 76 69, P Connolly (Clontarf) 74 71, G Boyd (Donaghadee) 74 71
146 C Hughes (Royal Portrush) 75 71, N Gorey (Lee Valley) 75 71, D Finn (Mallow) 73 73, R McCarthy (Island) 72 74, N Grant (Knock) 69 77
147 E Kennedy (Strabane) 76 71, M Lavelle (K Club) 76 71, J Moore (Laytown & Bettystown) 75 72, S Crowe (Dunmurry) 73 74, S Doherty (Malone) 72 75, K McCarthy (Kinsale) 72 75
148 M Thistleton (Hayling, UK) 78 70, P O’Hanlon (Curragh) 72 76
149 D Carroll (Grange) 78 71, D McInerney (Lahinch) 75 74, A Wilson (Cairndhu) 73 76, A Dowling (Hermitage) 72 77
150 M Sinclair (Knock) 76 74, S Healy (Claremorris) 74 76, S Paul (Tandragee) 74 76
151 P O’Kane (Moyola Park) 82 69, M Buggy (Castlecomer) 79 72, P Graham (Galgorm Castle) 75 76
152 N O’Connor (Elm Park) 78 74, M McGinley Jnr (Grange) 78 74
153 J Patterson (Knock) 79 74, A Dooley (NUIG/Glasson) 79 74, M Horan (Birr) 78 75, E Arthurs (Forrest Little) 78 75, J Mulready (Castle) 77 76, M Poucher (Limerick) 75 78, K Condren (Greystones) 73 80
154 J Turner (Royal Portrush) 78 76, R Cannon (Laytown & Bettystown) 78 76, J Gannon (Seapoint) 75 79
155 T O’Neill (Rathsallagh) 80 75, L Butler (West Waterford) 77 78, K Kennedy (Co Tipperary) 77 78, J Timony (Headfort) 77 78, S Miskelly (Knock) 75 80, R Williams (Baltinglass) 75 80
156 T Cleary (East Clare) 81 75, M Kemmy (Limerick) 77 79
157 C Martin (Kilkenny) 83 74, T McClements (Holywood) 75 82
159 À Meharg (Scrabo) 78 81

RT E McAnoy (Knock) 82 RT, N Lavin (Royal Dublin) 76 RT

WD M King (Athenry) 83 WD