“It was a shitshow,” McIlroy said after carding a 1-under 71, per The Telegraph. “The fog obviously delayed things, but I’ve never remembered having that many players on 17 and 18.
“It’s not as if they teed us off in tighter slots or anything. We’re [one of] the last groups to maybe get done, so we were maybe fortunate that way, but it’s hard for me trying to play the last well and make the cut. It was a bit of a mad dash and a scramble to get finished.”
McIlroy needed to birdie the 18th hole Friday to make the cut on the number. He did so, relying on his clutch gene in the process.
His birdie-four came in complete darkness as DP World Tour officials illuminated the scoreboard white to help the players see.
But the final hour was a waiting game for everyone on the course.
McIlroy, who played alongside Ludvig Aberg and Viktor Hovland Thursday and Friday, waited for over 20 minutes on both the 17th and 18th tee boxes. There were 12 players on a hole at times.
The course was jam-packed thanks to the fog delay, which left the field finishing their rounds at dusk.
The final group to finish featured Tommy Fleetwood, Shane Lowry, and Sepp Straka, two pairings after McIlroy. Anyone behind this group had to conclude their rounds Saturday morning.
“I don’t think I’ve ever finished in that pitch black,” Fleetwood said. “It was nice to have the screen on the last one and just trickle one in and tap in.”
Tom Kim, Adam Scott, and Billy Horschel, who played in front of Fleetwood, waved the Englishman up so he could play to the green. Had they not done so, Fleetwood might have had to finish first thing in the morning.
“It was pretty dark,” Fleetwood explained. “I was standing with Billy and Adam, and Tom let me hit up on 18. I was looking—and then I asked, is it easier at 7:00 in the morning, or is it easier now, this shot?
“They let me go, which kind of made my mind up for me. They let me go, and I flushed one onto the green.”