Rory McIlroy sent a clear message to the critics who accuse him of lacking true grit when he drew on his “pride” to claw his way inside the cut line the US PGA.
The Holywood star double bogeyed the 10th, three-putted the 11th and double-bogeyed the 12th to soar to seven-over for the championship after just three holes of his second round at Bethpage Black.
He turned in a nightmarish 40, following a tap-in birdie four at the 13th with another bogey from the rough at the 15th to languish in a tie for 123rd.
But the putts that ran over the edge of the hole suddenly began to drop and after making a 12 footer for birdie at the fourth, he made a 25 footer at the fifth, a 22 footer at the sixth and an 18 footer at the eighth, carding a one-over 71 to make the weekend on three-over.
He finished his day eight shots behind clubhouse leader Jordan Spieth but he had the satisfaction of giving the perfect response to stinging criticism from six-time major winner Nick Faldo earlier this week, who dismissed him as a contender this week because he lacks the ability to grind.
"He suffers because when he's out of the tournament," Faldo said. "He only likes to play when right in it or charging through - just hovering doesn't do it for him. He gets a bit deflated.”
Asked what inspired him to keep going when things looked hopeless, McIlroy said: "Pride. Just pride. Just trying to play a good round of golf and try to get something that's close to the best out of myself.
"I don't like missing cuts. It's not something that I'm used to fortunately, and I wanted to be around for the weekend.
"And at least if you're around for the weekend, you can go out there and maybe shoot a good one tomorrow and at least give yourself half a chance.
"If some had said to me coming off the 12th green, my third hole, you are are going to shoot a better score than you did yesterday, I'd have gone, ‘Yeah, ok’.
"So to play the last 15 holes in four under par, it's an example of me trying hard and having some character and grit and determination and wanting to be here for the weekend.
"If I can go out tomorrow in the morning and shoot a good one and get under par for the tournament, you never know, depending on how the conditions are.
"I don't feel I am carrying any sort of momentum into tomorrow. I just played a nice back nine to make it into the weekend.
"But tomorrow is a new day and hopefully can start a little better and make a few birdies."
Trailing Brooks Koepka by 15 strokes in a tie for 57th, he tees off with Ryder Cup team Thorbjorn Olesen at 14:30 Irish time.