Rory McIlroy bounced back from the nightmare finish to his opening round on day two of the prestigious Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village.
Just two days after tournament host Jack Nicklaus had lamented McIlroy’s occasional lapses in concentration, the four-time major winner carded a triple bogey on the 18th to card a level-par 72.
“I don’t know whether his is a constant lack of being able to keep that concentration for the whole thing or not, because sometimes he (goes) par, par, par, double, eight,” Nicklaus said in his pre-event press conference.
“He does that sometimes.”
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) June 2, 2023
It was not an eight on Thursday but a nevertheless destructive seven on the par-four 18th, where his drive finished in deep rough on a steep side slope.
McIlroy could only hack his ball almost sideways into more rough and he caught a flier with his third before taking four shots to get down from the back of the green.
“I felt good about everything that I did yesterday,” McIlroy said after carding six birdies and two bogeys in a second round of 68.
“I got one bad break on 18 with that ball finishing on the bank of the bunker. So I really feel like I’m one shot out of leading this golf tournament.
“(If) that rolls down into the bunker, hopefully I’m able to hit it on the green and make a four and instead of standing here at four under I would be at seven under and feeling really good about everything.
“I felt like I did a lot of really good things yesterday and I did a lot of good things right, so I can’t let that one sort of unlucky break sort of hide the fact that everything else was working pretty well.”
At four under par McIlroy was four shots off the lead held by American Justin Suh who rose nine places with a 66 for the day.
Behind him in second was Hideki Matsuyama, the former Masters champion who carded a superb bogey-free 65 to finish on seven under par.
Americans Patrick Cantlay and David Lipsky finished tied third, one stroke behind Matsuyama.