Rory McIlroy, who opened with a 7-over 78, began the defense of his BMW Championship title playing like a guy who can’t wait for his season to end -- which, judging from the start to Friday’s second round (four bogeys and a double in the opening eight holes), will most certainly, and mercifully, come on Sunday.
McIlroy, who arrived in Chicago a year ago on top of the golf world, has had what the Daily Mail’s Derek Lawrenson termed an "annus horribilus" and scuffled around the Conway Farms Golf Club to a tally that any 20-handicapper would envy. He kicked off his week on the 10th hole and quickly carded a double-bogey on the par-3 11th.
While he was able to record two birdies in his ugly first tour of the track, McIlroy’s triple on the par-4 first hole pretty much summed up the futility of his lost season. He finally reached the green in four and then hung on the scoreboard a three-putt from within five feet.
McIlroy, who may have organizers of his head-to-head rematch with Tiger Woods in China next month rethinking the reported $1 million appearance fee for the two-time major champ, entered the contest ranked 49th in FEC standings. He needs a top-eight finish in this week’s no-cut, 70-player field to advance with 29 others to the playoff finale at East Lake.
"It’s an uphill task now, to say the least," he told Lawrenson.
McIlroy continues to contend that his game is sharper than it appears.
"Given the amount of quality shots I hit it’s hard to believe I finished with that score," he said to Lawrenson, who noted that 34 putts in a round tends to yield such hideous results.
McIlroy’s 78 was the highest score he’s posted since his opening-round 8-over 79 in the British Open in July. Back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 4 and 5 on Friday, combined with bogeys on the second and eighth and a double on the par-4 seventh, landed the Ulsterman dead flat last on the BMW leader board. McIlroy made the turn at 5-over 40 after a birdie on No. 9.