When Rory McIlroy made bogey at the first hole on Friday afternoon at the 2014 Open Championship I joined a lot of people around golf thinking, “here we go again”. That turned out to be the only bogey he would make all day en route to a matching six under par 66 for a second day in a row. Royal Liverpool was windy, but Rory continued to hit big drives all day, and will take a four shot lead into Saturday.
The 24 year-old McIlroy has led the tour in first round scoring all season, but until today, ranked 188th in the second rounds(Freaky Friday). He took a nice lead to the clubhouse last week at Royal Aberdeen only to give it all back on Friday, and nearly missed the cut.
After the bogey at one, he took a couple of holes to right the ship, and started making birdies at five and six to make the turn at two under par. With three par fives on the back nine, it put Rory McIlroy in control of this tournament. It turns out, he put a drive in the fairway bunker on 16, and had to settle for his only par on a par five all day.
His drive on 17 was from a different planet. Only second-place finisher, Dustin Johnson was able to match the 396 yard bomb. Rory was so close to the green, he was able to walk up to take a look before hitting his second shot.
His four-shot lead could well have been an eight-shot lead had it not been for some missed short putts. That appears to be the only hole in his game this week, and something he has battled during the 2014 season.
Rory will tee it up with Dustin Johnson on Saturday. Dustin missed a few putts as well, but bested Rory’s 66 on the day with a seven under par 65.
This should be a great round on Saturday with two big bombers playing in the final group. Rory has the advantage, as he has a much better short game than Dustin. The Golf God owes Dustin Johnson a major for what happened at Whistling Straights a few years back.
One round does not eliminate all the demons, but Rory was asked all week about his problems on Friday. He was able to go out today and slay the monster…for one round! We’ll have to wait and see if the monster is really dead.