2018 British Open: Rory McIlroy stays in hunt with second consecutive 69

Jul 20, 2018; Carnoustie, SCT; Rory McIlroy chips to the 14th green during the second round of The Open Championship golf tournament at Carnoustie Golf Links. Mandatory Credit: Steven Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Steven Flynn/USA TODAY Sports

2018 British Open: Rory McIlroy stays in hunt with second consecutive 69

2018 British Open

2018 British Open: Rory McIlroy stays in hunt with second consecutive 69

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy is scrapping in his attempt to win the 147th British Open.

“I’m going to go down swinging,” McIlroy said.

The former World No. 1 got into contention with a second-round 69, 4-under-par for the tournament, to sit two shots behind leader Zach Johnson after the morning wave.

Maybe it was a response to criticism a day earlier from Butch Harmon, who said the Northern Irishman was playing like a robot. McIlroy took exception to that characterization and backed it up with a second-consecutive 2-under round.

Jul 20, 2018; Carnoustie, SCT; Rory McIlroy reacts to his putt on the 18th green during the second round of The Open Championship golf tournament at Carnoustie Golf Links. Mandatory Credit: Ian Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Rory McIlroy couldn’t quite sink his birdie putt on 18 Friday. (Ian Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports)

The 29-year-old turned up at Carnoustie determined to be more aggressive than he was in the first two majors. McIlroy adopted a conservative approach to the Masters and U.S. Open and it didn’t pay dividends. He disappeared on Masters Sunday, shooting a 74 in the last two-ball with winner Patrick Reed. He missed the cut at the U.S. Open.

“I’ve been a little bit too careful and tentative when I’ve been in these big tournaments,” McIlroy said. “Last day at Augusta, even the first day at Shinnecock, I just felt a little bit too…. I was holding on a little too much. This week, one of my main thoughts is just to let it go. Just go out there and give it your all.

“I’ve been worrying too much about the result, not focusing as much on the process. Sunday at Augusta was a big learning curve again for me because, even if I hadn’t won that tournament, but I went down swinging and aggressive and committing to every shot, I would have walked away a lot happier.

“I’m committed to making sure, even if I don’t play my best golf and don’t shoot the scores I want, I’m going to go down swinging. I’m going to go down giving it my best.”

McIlroy hit driver just six times Friday, whereas he hit the longest club in the bag every opportunity in Round 1. Heavy rain forced his hand, but he’s keen to get back to swinging driver as much as possible.

“If the conditions do change and go back to the way they were yesterday, I’d see myself hitting a lot more drivers again,” McIlroy said.

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