Rory McIlroy rues closing bogeys after second-round 73 at Irish Open
By Ali Stafford
Last Updated: 06/07/18 4:35pm
Rory McIlroy admits he must improve over the weekend after slipping further down the leaderboard during the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.
The tournament host struggled on the greens during his opening-round 70 at Ballyliffin and experienced similar issues on Friday morning, mixing three birdies with four bogeys on his way to a one-over 73.
McIlroy was within four shots of the lead until three bogeys over his final five holes, leaving the world No 8 with work to do in his bid to replicate his 2016 win on home soil.
"I feel like I hit the ball okay again today," McIlroy told Sky Sports. "It's definitely going in the right direction but I didn't hole anything again, really.
"I holed a nice one for birdie on six but that was about it. I'm going to have to hit it closer and hole a few over the weekend if I want to have a chance."
McIlroy started on the back nine and saw a run of six pars ended with a blemish at the 16th after finding a bunker off the tee, only to bounce back with a two-putt birdie at the par-five next.
The Northern Irishman had an eight-footer at the 18th horseshoe around the hole and stay out, before having to settle for a birdie at the par-five fourth after missing his 12-foot eagle try.
Two attempts out of a greenside bunker led to McIlroy bogeying the fifth, with the 29-year-old cancelling out a six-foot birdie at the next with back-to-back bogeys over his final two holes.
"Two poor tee shots on the last two holes and I just put myself out of position," McIlroy added. "It was hard to make par from there.
"The one on eight wasn't that bad, just went through the fairway more than I thought. I was sort of in two minds off the ninth about what to hit off the tee. I was trying to hit the 2-iron a bit hard and got ahead of it.
"It's not as if the guys are getting away out there. It's getting firm and it's tough to get it close to these hole locations, even with short irons in your hand. I'm six behind at the minute and hopefully I'm not too far more than that behind going into the weekend."
Watch the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open throughout the weekend live on Sky Sports. Live coverage continues on Saturday from 12.30pm on Sky Sports Golf.