McIlroy survives wobble as Harrington exits Charlotte and world's Top 200

Pádraig Harrington will be ranked outside the top 200 in the world for the first time since his rookie season 18 years ago when he reappears at Wentworth for the BMW PGA Championship.

After shooting 78 to miss his sixth cut from 10 PGA Tour starts this year at the Wells Fargo Championship, the 42-year old Dubliner will also miss next week's Players Championship for the first time since 2001. 

Harrington's future is uncertain, but just where world No 11 Rory McIlroy will be ranked when he hits the old Burma Road track in just under three weeks' time remains to be seen.

The erratic Ulsterman survived an early round car crash to make the cut on the one over par limit in Charlotte, carding second round 76 at Quail Hollow to find himself 10 shots behind leaders Angel Cabrera (69) and Martin Flores (68) at halfway.

Set to turn 25 on Sunday having falled outside the world's Top 10 for the first time in three years earlier this week, he clumsily three putted the par-three second for bogey and was then forced to take penalty drops at both the third and fourth, running up two double bogeys.

Suddenly five over for the round and outside the projected cut mark, the former world No 1 made three birdies and two more bogeys coming home after the green shoots of recovery he'd shown with the blade in Thursday's 69 failed to flourish.

"It wasn't the way that I obviously wanted to start, five‑over, for three holes," said McIlroy, who missed five putts from six feet or less. "Hit a couple of sloppy shots, a careless first‑putt on the second and three‑putted there, and then I didn't hit that bad of a drive on three, just a little left, and it got behind a tree and I had to take an unplayable.

"And I hit an awful second shot on four, hit it 25 yards left of where I was intending to, but gathered myself a little bit after that and battled back okay to make the cut, but obviously not what I was looking for starting off today.

"I didn't have my game today. Off the tee it was good, I drove the ball pretty well, didn't get the ball close enough with my approach shots, and my putting didn't feel as comfortable today as it did yesterday."

Four years ago, McIlroy performed a minor miracle to make the cut on the mark at Quail Hollow an then shot rounds of 66 and 62 to win his maiden PGA Tour title and move back into the top 10 in the world.

Reminded of that feat after yesterday's 76, he didn't sound so confident that lighting would strike twice, but he's going to try.

"I would have to do the exact same thing over the weekend to win, but I am going to work on my putting here tonight and try and shoot a low one tomorrow," said McIlroy, who will be third off just after eight in the morning with Rickie Fowler for company for the third day in a row. "At least give myself a chance to do the same thing as I did a few years ago."

One of the few positives McIlroy can take from the day is that he resisted any temptation to throw in the towel and after seeing Zimbabwean Brendan de Jonge, now a Charlotte resident, follow an 80 with a course record equalling 62, he knows that it's possible to go low.

"We saw what Brendon de Jonge did today, shot a 62," McIlroy said.  "There are low scores out there.  I just need to be a little more clinical with my iron play and get closer to the pin, and then I need to be able to finish them off a little better.

"I'm driving the ball well, at least it's setting me up to at least give myself opportunities where I can try and make birdies, but I need to play very well over the weekend if I'm going to have a chance to do that."

As for his putting, he said: "I felt today I got a lot of left‑to‑righters, and what I'm trying to do on my stroke, I'm feeling uncomfortable on my putts, so I am going to go to the putting green and hit a lot of left‑to‑right putts and feel more comfortable over them.

"I feel like every time when I feel like I'm aiming correctly I'm aiming too low and not trusting it and not hitting a good putt.  I had a couple little ones, held one on 14, coming in, but I needed to do better."

More fragile and suceptible that ever, Harrington was behind the eight ball after a 72 on Thursday and was always going to find it tough to make the cut if he dropped shots early.

When he missed a five footer for par after coming up short at the 13th, his fourth, and then three-putted the 16th and bogeyed the 17th to go three over, it was all downhill.

Bad drives at the third and fourth followed by a missed green from 112 yards at the par-five fifth led to a hat-trick of bogeys and while he twoputted from 20 yards for birdie at the seventh, a bogey at the ninth ended his interest in Charlotte.

Darren Clarke also missed the cut, following his 76 with a 72 to miss by three shots on four over.

Clarke's next start comes alongside McIlroy and Graeme McDowell in next week's Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass, where Harrington will be an absentee for the first time since 2001.

Bar a win at Wentworth, the Dubliner will be at Walton Heath on May 26 trying to avoid missing the US Open for the first time since 1999.