Rory McIlroy missed his first cut since last year’s US Open after a sloppy finish to his second round in the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village.
After opening with a 75, the pre-tournament favourite was two-under for the day and sitting on the projected one-over cut mark with just four holes to go.
He could have been under par but he missed six birdie chances inside 18 feet, most of them in the 10-16 feet range.
But he bogeyed the par-five 15th after spinning his third off the green and down a slope into the rough, missed an eight footer for birdie at the 16th and followed that by lipping out from three feet for par after overshooting the 17th.
He needed to birdie the tough 18th to have any chance of surviving the cut but while he hit a magnificent 179-yard approach to four feet and made the putt for a 71, his two-over par tally was one too many.
More worrying was that the was ranked 101st for strokes gained driving and 93rd for putting and has just next week's RBC Canadian Open to rediscover the form that has brought him a win in The Players and another eight top-10 finishes in 11 starts this year.
Martin Kaymer (68), Troy Merritt (66) and Korea’s Kyoung-Hoon Lee (67) lead by a shot from Jordan Spieth (70) on nine under with Tiger Woods seven shots off the pace on two-under in his bid for win No 82 after a 72.
in Europe Gavin Moynihan is looking forward to being wide awake for matchplay combat with Marcel Siem after battling his way in the weekend at the Belgian Knockout in Antwerp.
The former Walker Cup star had a 4:15 am alarm call but came alive late in his round, carding a two-under 69 to make the 64 qualifiers who will play nine-hole medal matchplay today.
"I left some shots out there both days but had strong finish today to make sure I qualified," said Moynihan, who came home in three-under to avoid an 11-man playoff for nine spots in his half of the draw by one stroke.
"I holed some nice putts on my back nine, so while I struggled a bit with the driver, I have a three-iron in the bag this week, which is working great."
Michael Hoey failed to qualify by five shots after a 74 as Chris Paisley signed for a second consecutive 65 and secure the top seeding on 12-under.
Moynihan did not qualify on his world ranking for Monday's US Open Sectional Qualifier at Walton Heath, where Hoey will be the lone Irish hopeful after Paul Dunne opted to focuses instead on his European Tour schedule and his defence of the GolfSixes with Moynihan in Portugal later next week.
There are US Open qualifiers at ten sites in the US, Canada and England with Pádraig Harrington and Seamus Power in action at RattleSnake Point Golf Club in Canada hoping to join Rory McIlroy, Shane Lowry and Graeme McDowell at Pebble Beach.
US-based Kerryman Sean Quinlivan seeks his dream ticket at Century Country Club and Old Oaks Country Club in New York.
Leona cut in Charleston
Meanwhile, Leona Maguire was set to miss the cut in the US Women's Open at the Country Club of Charleston, after a five-over 76 left her on nine-over — five shots outside the projected cut mark for the top 60 and ties.
"It just wasn't my week," the Co Cavan star said. "My game feels good, but I just had a few bad breaks and made a few poor shot choices. It was still a great learning week for me, though. I learnt a lot."
Stephanie Meadow was tied 93rd on six-over, three over for her round with four to play and one of 74 players who must return to the course today to complete their second rounds.
The USGA wrote:
Mamiko Higa of Japan, who shot a 6-under-par 65 in her first-ever U.S. Women’s Open round on Thursday, rallied with birdies on three of her last six holes on Friday to post an even-par 71 and maintain a one-stroke lead in the weather-delayed Round 2 of the 74th U.S. Women’s Open at the Country Club of Charleston.
The round was suspended for nearly two hours in the late afternoon by thunderstorms, and when play was halted for the day at 8:24 p.m., Higa led Jessica Korda by one stroke. Korda, 26, put together rounds of 69-68 to sit at 5-under 137. Amateur Gina Kim, 19, of Chapel Hill, N.C., shot 1-over 72 on Friday for a 4-under total of 138 and sits in solo third among completed players, although Celine Boutier, 25, of France, was also at 4 under with four holes left to play in Round 2.
“After I finished last night I didn’t feel that much pressure,” said Higa, 25, whose best previous finish in a major is a tie for fourth at last year’s Women’s British Open. “I wasn’t nervous. I was really happy because I was able to finish up a tough day with a birdie.”
Kim, 19, a rising sophomore at Duke University who helped the Blue Devils win the NCAA team title two weeks ago, matched the second-lowest 36-hole total for an amateur in Women’s Open history. Grace Park (total of 137 in 1999) was one stroke better and Hye-Jin Choi also shot 138 for 36 holes in 2017 on the way to a solo runner-up finish to Sung Hyun Park. Kim cited her ball-striking as the key to her performance.
“I think that’s been one of my biggest strengths these days,” said Kim. “I’ve definitely made birdies because I've stuck it very close. I'm feeling really good about where I am right now. Clearly, my scores are doing well, and so hopefully I can keep that going for the rest of the weekend.”
Boutier missed the cut in her only two previous Women’s Open starts, in 2014 and 2015, while she was playing at Duke. Like Kim, Boutier helped Duke win the NCAAs, in 2014, and she earned her first professional victory in the ISPS Handa Vic Open in January.
Jeongeun Lee6 of the Republic of Korea and Jaye Marie Green were both at 3-under 139 through 36 holes, while Lexi Thompson and Nelly Korda, Jessica’s younger sister, were also at 3 under but with two and three holes left to play, respectively.
Higa’s score on Thursday was the lowest ever for a player in their Women’s Open debut. Higa, who is married to professional sumo wrestler Ikioi Shota, is a two-time Japan Women’s Amateur champion who has won five times on the LPGA of Japan Tour since turning professional in 2012.
Four amateurs, most recently Carol Semple Thompson in 1978, have led or shared the lead through two rounds of the Women’s Open. Choi is the most recent of the three who have held at least a share of second.
Play was halted for 1 hour, 58 minutes in the late afternoon, beginning at 4:47 p.m. Play was suspended for the day at 8:24 p.m., with 45 players left to complete their rounds on Saturday morning, starting at 7:15 a.m