Ailing Rory McIlroy battles illness and weather in Singapore

Stuart Franklin

Feeling a bit peaked at this time of year seems to be how Rory McIlroy rolls.

The world No. 1 battled flu-like symptoms and soggy conditions typical for this time of the season at the Singapore Open to get to two strokes clear of the projected cut line after 12 holes of a rain-shortened second round. But at least McIlroy, who’s on the cusp of clinching the European Tour money list crown to go with his PGA Tour title, was not suffering from Dengue fever as he was 12 months ago.

"I'm struggling a bit and not feeling 100 per cent," McIlroy, whose tennis star girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki was making the rounds at Sentosa Golf Club with him this week, told The Telegraph. "Maybe it's a good thing that the humidity is so high because I might be able to sweat it out."

Humid was certainly the word for the weather, as thunderstorms cut short play for the second straight day and may force organizers to cut the tournament to 54 holes if downpours cause any more stoppages. As it stands, McIlroy finished 10 holes of his rain-delayed opener on Friday with a 1-under 70 and went right back out to the course to start his second round.

Suffering from what he termed "a cold or a sinus infection," McIlroy was not crisp to start his second round, carding a bogey and a double in his first four holes. A birdie on the par-5 18th, however, seemed to lift his spirits as he made the turn with another at the first and one more on the third before the rains doused his sizzling play.

McIlroy, who’ll enter the weekend seven shots back of Simon Dyson and Chapchai Nirat, can sew up the dual money titles with a strong performance this week. Should he fail in Singapore to match Luke Donald’s 2011 accomplishment of earning both cash prizes, he’ll have another crack at it next week at the Hong Kong Open.

McIlroy may be a robust young lad, but jet-setting around the globe can lay low even the healthiest athlete in the prime of his career. The ailments McIlroy has battled toward the end of the past two tour campaigns may mollify critics who’ve ripped him for skipping the recent HSBC Champions event in China and questioned his decision to play fewer tournaments in 2013.

"I think that someone needs a week off somewhere, and if I played HSBC I would be playing five events in a row to finish the season," McIlroy told CNN’s Shane O’Donoghue during a recent joint interview with Tiger Woods. "And after such a busy summer and the Ryder Cup and everything that went on there has got to be an event somewhere that has got to be left out and this year. Unfortunately, it was HSBC."

The two-time major champ, who chatted with Woods and the host of "Living Golf" ahead of the golfing duo’s one-day exhibition in China, said he would manage his schedule with an eye toward "longevity.

"I’m 23 years old, I have still got a lot of years ahead of me. I just don’t want to be burnt out," McIlroy said. "I don’t want to get to the stage where I am 30, 35 and I’m getting fed up with the game. But it is a long time to be playing the sport and I just want to pace myself and I think Tiger has done that so well for the last 15 years and that is something that I am going to try and do, going forward."

In the short term, play is slated to resume in Singapore at 7:30 a.m. local time on Saturday.

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