AUGUSTA, Ga. — Rory McIlroy was on his way out, his sixth try at completing the career Grand Slam seemingly halted before the weekend.
McIlroy, who needs just a Masters victory to become the sixth player ever to win all four major championships, shot 75 in his opening round, which was completed Friday. At one point, he hit his tee shot into the middle of the water on the 170-yard par-3 16th.
He looked a mess.
Then McIlroy rallied to shoot a 6-under 66 in his second round Friday — a nine-shot swing — and is 3-under through 36 holes, still in touch with the lead at 9-under.
McIlroy said he received encouragement from friend and Augusta member Jimmy Dunn between his first and second rounds.
“Jimmy Dunn gave me a pep talk between rounds going on to the range,’’ McIlroy said. “I honestly have been playing so good coming in here, and I go into the first round and shoot 75 and I’m like, ‘Where the hell did that come from?’
“I knew it was in there, it was just a matter of trusting a little more and being committed. It was better [in the second round].’’
Asked what Dunn’s pep talk was like, McIlroy said, “It was colorful.’’
“I turned it around nicely and shot a good one, at least gave myself a chance going into the weekend,’’ McIlroy said.
Maybe someone needs to remind Bernhard Langer the Masters is not a Champions Tour event. The forever-young 63-year-old German, who has dominated the senior circuit like no other player in history, is not out of contention to win the green jacket for the third time.
Langer, who’s playing in his 37th Masters and won in 1985 and 1993, is 3-under entering the weekend, just six shots out of the lead. Langer making the cut overtook Tommy Aaron as the oldest player ever to do so.
When informed of that he was the oldest player to make the Masters cut, Langer said, “How about that? I’ll drink to that.’’
Asked what he’s drinking, he said, “Shandy.’’
“There have been so many great players here before me, including Jack Nicklaus to Gary Player to all the greats that have competed here, and to be the oldest to make the cut, it’s certainly an achievement,’’ Langer said. “Hopefully, I get to play a few more years and enjoy this place.’’
Adam Scott got a terrible break Friday when his approach shot to No. 15 hit the flag stick and rebounded into Rae’s Creek, leading a double bogey.
The same thing happened to Tiger Woods on that hole in the second round of the 2013 Masters, which Scott won.
“Unfortunately, I think we hit the wrong club there, but then compound that with a bad break,’’ Scott said. “It was a good shot. I think I was making a par and ended up making a good double. I’ve seen that happen before on the 15th hole [Woods]. I was nervous then when I was hitting my sixth shot because the 6 can turn to 8, and it can spiral really out of control.’’
Scott ended up shooting 72 in his second round and is 2-under for the week.
“It’s such a momentum-killer,’’ Scott said. “If I’d managed to make a 4 there and be 5-under for the tournament, the momentum is really going and you just never know.’’
Credit: Notigroup Newsroom.
[This article may have been written with information from various sources.]