McIlroy grabs command at US Open | Pakistan Today

McIlroy grabs command at US Open

Rory McIlroy completed the lowest 36-hole total in US Open history on Friday despite a double-bogey finish that brought back memories of similar major leads the Ulsterman has squandered.
McIlroy fired a five-under par 66 to stand on 11-under 131 after two rounds at Congressional Country Club, firing five birdies and an eagle before finding water at 18 to settle for an eight-shot lead late in the second round. “It would have been great to get up and down for bogey. But you can’t dwell on it,” McIlroy said. “I played 35 very good holes and that’s what I need to focus on.” The Northern Ireland prodigy broke the old US Open 36-hole mark of 132 set in 2009 by American Ricky Barnes, but had he closed with a par he would have broken the 36-hole major record of 130 by Nick Faldo at the 1992 British Open. “It has been very, very good,” McIlroy said. “It’s very nearly the best I can play.” But McIlroy, a contender for the fourth major in a row, has been down this path before and been found wanting.
McIlroy opened with a 65 to co-lead the Masters in April, led by four after 54 holes and by one with nine to play before a back-nine fade to an 80. He led last year’s British Open after a 63 but had an 80 in a wind-swept round two. “I took a few things away from the Masters that I felt I could incorporate into my game and I said we’ll find out how they go when I get myself into that position again,” McIlroy said.
“We’ll see how it goes over the next couple of days. It’s a big challenge. Every time I keep myself leading in majors, I’m getting more and more comfortable.
“You are going to be comfortable when you are hitting great shots.” South Korean Yang Yong-Eun was second, eight strokes back with 13 holes to play, while Americans Zach Johnson, Brandt Snedeker and Robert Garrigus and Spain’s Sergio Garcia were in the clubhouse on two-under 140.
No American holds a major title and if none wins this week, it will mark the longest run of majors in the modern era without a US winner. “The pressure is off me,” Johnson said. “I’m not the one that’s supposed to win it right now.”
McIlroy, 22, has a chance to match the all-time 36-hole lead in a major, the nine-stroke edge of Henry Cotton from the 1934 British Open.
He also has a solid chance at the largest 36-hole lead in US Open history, the six-under mark set by Woods in 2000 at Pebble Beach on his way to a 15-stroke rout, the most lopsided triumph in major golf history. On a morning when no rival could mount a challenge, McIlroy was astonishing and he grabbed a stranglehold on the event with his amazing swing from the eighth fairway, a 113-yard wedge shot from the fairway. McIlroy launched the ball to the back fringe of the green and watched from the fairway as the ball slowly rolled back 25 feet and into the cup.
Lifting his arms into the air, McIlroy looked skyward and smiled as playing partner Phil Mickelson, a four-time major champion and five-time US Open runner-up, could only applaud in amazement at the feat by his playing partner. “He’s striking it flawlessly and putted great on the greens,” Mickelson said. “His first two rounds were very impressive.”
Magical McIlroy birdied the par-4 fourth, coaxed a hefty-breaking short par putt into the cup at five and birdied the par-5 sixth to reach eight-under overall, setting the stage for his fabulous eagle.
McIlroy followed it with a sand-save par at nine, a testy six-foot par putt at 11 and birdies at 14, 16 and 17. At the par-5 16th, McIlroy drove the green in two, missed a 12-foot eagle bid and settled for a tap-in birdie. “I’ve played two really good rounds of golf but I know I have to play another two if I want to win,” McIlroy said. “I have to keep it going over the next couple of days. I’m halfway there, but there is still a long way to go.” McIlroy became the first man to reach 13-under par at any stage in US Open history with a birdie at 17, one better than the old mark set by Gil Morgan in the third round in 1992 and matched by Tiger Woods in the final round in 2000. But then came the mishap on 18 after a tee shot pulled into the left rough. “I got a bit of grass caught between the club face and the ball and it just turned over a little bit,” McIlroy said. “Unfortunately it went into the water. Just one of those things.” The past 10 majors have been won by 10 different players and seven of the past eight majors have been taken by first-time major winners, streaks McIlroy would continue with a breakthrough triumph on Sunday.

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