Rory McIlroy fails to make halfway cut at Irish Open
World No.2 finishes two over 146 after two rounds at Carton House
Graeme McDowell, Padraig Harrington and Darren Clarke also exit
American Peter Ulhlein and Robert Robert of England lead the way
World No.2 Rory McIlroy headlined a mass exodus of home hopes at the Irish Open Friday as failed to make the halfway cut at Carton House.
McIlroy battled to a level-par second round 72, but on two over 146 he was two outside the qualifying mark.
Former major champions Graeme McDowell, Padraig Harrington and Darren Clarke will also miss out on weekend play in a major disappointment for the Irish galleries.
McDowell and Harrington were shy by shot on one-over, but Clarke continued his disappointing form since landing the 2011 British Open as he slumped to six-over.
McIlroy has this year’s British Open at Muirfield on his mind despite another disappointing display in a season marked by a series of lackluster performances.
After his first round 74, the Northern Irishman left himself plenty to do and the birdies putts refused to drop.
“From tee to green it was much better,” McIlroy told the official European Tour website.
“But I need to put in a hard work and the hours to get ready for the Open in two weeks time,” he admitted.
With leaders Peter Ulhlein of the United States and England’s Robert Rock on nine-under 135, the Irish challenge rested with former winner Shane Lowry.
The Carton House specialist was on seven-under 137 and McIlroy, who played with him the first two rounds, said Lowry had a “great chance.”
Lowry admitted that the departure of his big name compatriots was disappointing for the loyal crowds.
“It’s that type of golf course,” he said. “It’s easy to go out there and shoot 75.
“It’s tricky, especially in conditions like this, and it’s unfortunate to see Rory and Padraig and Graeme miss the cut, but hopefully I can give the Irish guys something to cheer about this weekend.”
Lowry has former European Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal for company in the chasing pack, the veteran Spaniard claiming he had not given up hope of winning again on the European Tour.
“The captaincy took a lot out of me, I could not dedicate as much time to my game, but now it’s over I can spend time on the range working on my game,” he said.
“I have never lost hope, that’s why I spend hours and hours on the range.”
Rock, last year’s Abu Dhabi Championship winner, returned to form with a brilliant 66 with four birdies and an eagle to share the lead with Ulhlein, who won last month’s Madeira Open.