McIlroy shaky in making cut on the number

Rory McIlroy used a solid finish to salvage a 4-over 76 and a spot on the weekend at the Masters.

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Friday morning, Rory McIlroy stood in the thick of things at Augusta National Golf Club, but my, how one’s day can change quickly at the Masters. At nearly 7:30 p.m., playing in the last threesome of the second round, he stood over a 4-foot par putt at 18 just to make it to the weekend.

McIlroy made his putt, finishing off a rocky 5-over 77, and he’ll be first off on Saturday (10:15 a.m.) at the 78th Masters, one of 51 players to make the cut (low 50 and ties). McIlroy made a pair of double bogeys, at Nos. 4 and 10, each time when he overcooked the greens with his approaches and paid a hefty price. At the fourth, the longest of Augusta’s par 3s at 240 yards, he hit a 5-wood that traveled over the green and up against a fence, sending him back to the tee to hit his third shot. He needed to get up and down from a front bunker just to save 5.

On 10, from the middle of the fairway, McIlroy again was long (and left) with his approach. A pitch from the pine straw failed to reach the putting surface, and he failed to get up and down. In addition, he hit a sprinkler head with his second shot at the par-5 13th, his ball careening deep into the azaleas, and he made 6.

McIlroy had no shortage of chances on the way home, but could not convert some decent looks. He burned the edge of the cup or lipped out at Nos. 14, 15, 16 and 17, and on 18 had to negotiate a curling, left-to-right downhiller in two putts to earn his way to the weekend. He did not even catch the hole at the 12th, where he’d hit a nice tee shot to 7 feet.

"It was very frustrating. I just really couldn't get anything to go my way," he said. "I had a couple of really bad breaks on 4 and 13. Got a really massive wind switch on 4. And then hitting the sprinkler on 13 to go up into the azaleas.

"I felt like I played well coming in. I gave myself looks at birdie almost every hole. I couldn't get one to drop. Felt like I had good putts and they were either hitting the high side of the hole or low side of the hole.

"Just nothing going in."

McIlroy hit 11 greens after hitting 15 in Round 1, and needed 31 putts, which was an improvement over a day earlier (34). He had no three-putt greens after having three in the opening round (one from the fringe at the par-5 eighth).

This is McIlroy’s sixth Masters, and only once has he failed to make the cut. His best finish is a tie for 15th in 2011.

As for the weekend, he really doesn't know what it holds for him.

"Eleven shots back with two rounds to play is going to be nearly impossible to make up," he said. "So I'm trying to shoot two really low rounds and see where that puts me at the end of the week."

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