Rory McIlroy delighted to find his form on the greens at Doral
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 05/03/16 8:50am
Rory McIlroy celebrated a "big improvement" on the greens after he recovered from an early blemish to fire a sparkling seven-under 65 on the second day of the WGC-Cadillac Championship.
McIlroy had struggled to find consistency with his putting over the early part of the year, and his frustration came to a head at last week's Honda Classic as he missed the cut at PGA National.
After experiencing particular difficulty with putts from inside 10 feet, McIlroy announced that he would revert to a cross-handed putting grip on his arrival at Doral.
The early signs were not good for the world No 3 when he needed 33 putts in his opening 71, but he found his rhythm in the second round and wielded the flat stick nine fewer times - carding eight birdies and just one bogey to reach the halfway stage just two shots adrift of in-form leader Adam Scott.
McIlroy had only one putt on nine of the first 12 greens and rolled in clutch par saves at 10 and 11, his only error coming at the second when he lipped out from five feet.
"I felt like I struck the ball well yesterday. I just did not have the pace on the greens and that's to be expected when you go to a new grip and are thinking more about technique than speed and feel," McIlroy told Claude Harmon at the Sky Cart.
"I did a bit of work on the putting green last night and it paid off today," added the four-time major winner, who capped a superb day by nailing a 20-foot putt for birdie on the treacherous 18th at the Blue Monster layout.
"I saw Adam had got to 10 (under) so I did not want to be too far behind going into the weekend," he said. "It's great to see putts like that go in. Those are the putts I have not been holing over the last few months.
"When you see putts go in, you do get confidence from that. As the days go by, the more comfortable this will become and the more I can think about feel and picking the right line instead of where my hands are on the grip. Today I saw a big improvement so I'm very happy."
Scott arrived in Miami on the back of a runner-up finish at Riviera followed by an outstanding victory in last week's Honda Classic - his first PGA Tour title since being forced to revert to a traditional-length putter following the ban on anchored putting.
The Australian continued his remarkable form and hit the front with three birdies over the last four holes in a 66 which lifted him into the outright lead on 10 under before heading to the Sky Cart.
"I'm very happy," Scott said. "I got off to a good start again - that's been the key for me the last few weeks, and then maybe the wind lay down a little on the back nine and allowed me to have the chance for a few more and I hit some good shots and took advantage.
"Everything has an effect on another part of the game and all of a sudden as I came to Honda, the swing fell right into place and that's carried over to the rest of my game.
"That frees up the putting even more. You are in that little closer and can have a run at those 10-footers a little more than the 15 or 20-footers. I would like to keep my swing in this spot for at least the next two days."