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Dublin: 5°C Thursday 4 March 2021

Emotional McIlroy misses Open cut at Portrush after coming agonisingly close

The dream is over for McIlroy despite a sensational second-day charge, with Tiger Woods also falling short.

A dejected McIlroy on the 18th.
A dejected McIlroy on the 18th.
Image: David Davies

HOME FAVOURITE RORY McIlroy has fallen just short in a thrilling bid to make the cut at the British Open in Portrush, despite firing a six-under-par second round of 65.

A disastrous eight-over 79 in the opening round left McIlroy facing a mountainous task to reach the weekend, but while the pre-tournament favourite posted the joint best round of the day to get back to two-over, he missed out by just one shot with the cut at one-over.

“If I look back at this week what I’m really going to rue is playing the last three in five-over yesterday, because even with a couple of bogeys, with what I did today it would have been enough,” McIlroy told Golf Channel.

Five back-nine birdies left the 30-year-old only needing one more in the final two holes, but he narrowly missed a birdie putt on the 17th hole before sending his approach shot left of the final green.

The last player to make the cut after being tied-150th or worse after the first round was Jack Nicklaus in 1995, and the vast numbers of home fans following McIlroy quickly believed it was possible when he birdied the third.

Holes appeared to be running out when he made the turn still at six-over for the championship, but a run of three straight birdies from the 10th kept the dream alive.

A bogey at 13 was followed by his seventh birdie in the round on the 14th, and despite a fantastic iron shot which picked up another stroke on 16, the joint-best round of the day was not enough.

15-time major winner Tiger Woods was also made to pay for his 78 on Thursday as a one-under par round left the Masters champion still on six-over.

“It’s more frustrating than anything else because this is a major championship and I love playing in these events,” said Woods, who has struggled at three majors since his stunning triumph at Augusta in April.

“I love the atmosphere. I love just the stress of playing in a major. Unfortunately, I’ve only had a chance to win one of them and was able to do it. But the other three I didn’t do very well.”

Woods raised hopes that he could recover from a difficult opening round with his troublesome back restricting his movement in cold conditions.

The American was two under for the day after six holes, but a bogey at the seventh stalled his fightback.

Back-to-back birdies at 10 and 11 gave Woods hope again but a bogey-bogey finish was a fitting end to a frustrating two days for the 43-year-old.

Cork amateur James Surgue also felt agonisingly close of making the halfway cut.

The first Irishman to win the Amateur Championship in 14 years at Portmarnock last month carded a 73 today to follow his opening 71, which left him at two over.

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