McIlroy frustrated by his putting: "I think it's more mental than anything else"

McIlroy frustrated by his putting: "I think it's more mental than anything else"

Rory McIlroy taps in a par putt in California last night

The TV coverage delighted in showing us Rory McIlroy's 350 yard drive but the world No 3 set alarm bells ringing about his putting problem when he insisted that it was a mental rather than a technical problem as a wasteful 71 left him six shots behind leader Brendan Steele at Silverado Country Club in California.

The world No 3 had just 28 putts but he holed little of significance as he followed two front nine birdies at the fifth (17 feet) and ninth (2ft8" after a 15 footer for eagle) with a back nine featuring, eight pars, a bogey on the 13th and a string of unconvincing putts.

On the eighth he missed a three and a half footer for par, lipping out as he tried to power it through the break. But he also missed a five and a half footer for birdie at the 12th and several chances from around 12 feet.

To add insult to injury he had two piths from 41 and 35 yards at the par-five 16th and 18th and didn't get either of them inside 12 feet and was forced to settle for frustrating pars. 

"I didn't hit it quite as well as yesterday," McIlroy said. "Didn't hole anything really. Kind of the story of the day. Two birdies one bogey, I guess.

"Yeah, just very frustrating. It's sort of been like this since I've been back. Need to sort of figure it out a little bit. I'm going to go work on it now. Yeah, just need to see some putts going in the hole, get some confidence."

Asked if it was a technical issue, McIlroy conceded: "I think it's more mental than anything else. Whenever you don't see anything go in, it makes it harder and harder each and every hole that goes by.

"Hopefully find something on the putting green tonight and then hopefully I can get off to a good start in terms of holing putts tomorrow. Hopefully that can feed through and I get some momentum and go from there.

"I mean, you're going to miss some. That's inevitable. There are just chances that you should hole, chances that you give yourself that you need to take advantage of.

"I had two wedges inside four feet today (8th and 12th) and didn't putt for the hole (sic).

"So there are things you're playing well and you have confidence. Those go in and those give you momentum for the rest of the round as well. I don't expect to hole everything, but I expect to hole more than I am at the moment."

McIlroy admitted that his frustration got the better of him, pointing to the pitches on the 16th and 18th 

"When you have the two par-5s in the last three holes to try and make some ground up, not to take advantage of those, especially in the positions that I've put myself, just of the front of the green and not getting up and down, yeah, it's frustrating, because it's a golf course when you feel like you're on top of your game you can go really low.

"When your just slightly off, especially with how tricky it is with how firm the greens are, you still feel like you can shoot a good score out there. But not to be able to break 70 today is quite disappointing."

Tied 19th with the top 28 covered by just seven shots, he still has a chance but said, "I need to hole putts and figure out how to do that pretty quickly."