McGinley avoids the canvas

From Brian Keogh at Wentworth

Gritty Paul McGinley survived 18 rounds with Wentworth and gasped: I feel like I've been in with Mike Tyson.

The doughty Dubliner, 40, responded to a devastating double bogey - bogey combination at the 14th and 15th with a triple birdie haymaker for a super 69.

But after sweating to finish on one under par at halfway, McGinley confessed that he's making life just too hard for himself these days.

Down to 128th in the world, McGinley said: "I feel like I’m in the boxing ring with Tyson with one hand tied behind my back and trying not to get hit. That’s my psychological frame of mind at the moment.

"I am throwing the odd jab when he’s not looking and, yes, I am still standing. I’m fighting like hell but I’m not in control of my game.

"I can’t tell you how much I’m battling out there. It’s just grit getting me through because there’s not a lot of quality in my golf.

"My short game is really good and I’m just trying to get the ball in play and let the short game take over. That’s all I’m trying to do."

At 109th in the Order of Merit and without a top ten finish for eight months, McGinley had to show all the fighting spirit that has made him Ryder Cup vice-captaincy choice for Nick Faldo.

After opening with a two over par 74, the three-time Ryder Cup hero came flying out his corner at the bell by rifling an eight-iron to two feet for a birdie at the short second.

He then birdied the reachable par-five fourth and rammed home putts of 20 and 40 feet at the fifth and sixth to get to within four of the lead on two under.

But he then made life hard for himself when he bogeyed the 10th, three putted the par five 12th after two glorious shots to the green and then double bogeyed the 14th after failing to escape from sand.

A bunkered approach at the tough 15th cost the Dubliner another shot and to left him battling to make the cut at one over par.

But he bounced back off the ropes in typical McGinley fashion, firing a nine-iron to 10 feet at the 16th and then almost holing a three-wood for an albatross two at the 17th.

A chip to inches gave him another birdie but he was nervous about making a mistake at the last and finished up sneaking a pitch a putt birdie form 60 yards to complete a closing birdie hat-trick.

But despite his comeback, McGinley is still frustrated with his lack of control and a tally of six bogeys and two double bogeys in 36 holes.

He said: "I had some tough shots on the back nine there, like the tee shot on 13, the tee shot on 14, second shot on 15, you know really tough shots.

"And I know this golf course well enough to know where to hit them but I’m not controlling the ball well enough to hit it into the right positions.

"I’m not being hard on myself. I’m not controlling the golf ball and it’s an alien feeling for me. Normally, that’s my strength.

“I’ve got two shots in my bag at present - either a pull left or a block right.

"I’m battling but don’t get me wrong. I’m absolutely delighted and thrilled to be playing at the weekend - it’s some achievement given the way I’m playing. I’m absolutely chuffed.

"I won’t say I’m on a downer in my career but I’m on a bit of a plateau and just need to go up a gear, get the bit between my teeth and get myself focussed in the right direction.

"The way I’m playing, I shouldn’t be making cut but I’m doing it. I’m making birdies but, unlike me, I’m also doing the opposite and making a load of bogeys. Six bogeys and two doubles in two days isn’t good enough."