Rory McIlroy battles difficult conditions to remain in the hunt at Royal Troon

Padraig Harrington carded a very credible par in the wind and rain, while Graeme McDowell just makes the cut

Rory McIlroy

Image: David Davies / PA Wire/Press Association Images

It was never going to be easy for Rory McIlroy today. As with many of the majors that he has contested, he just hasn't had the luck of the draw and was today forced to battle strong wind and rain.

A promising front nine saw him pick up two, six and seven, but things were always going to be tougher around the turn. And so it proved, with consecutive bogeys on nine and 10, followed by back-to-back dropped shots on 12 and 13.

"I thought if I could get to five under, I'd feel really good about myself," he told Sky Sports after his round.

"When the putt went in to get to three under-par, I knew the course was playing as tough as it previously had been on the back nine. At that point I thought I had to stay patient and pick up birdies where I can along the way and for most of the front nine I was doing that."

 

Rory McIlroy looks dejected after dropping a shot on the back-nine this evening. Image: David Davies / PA Wire/Press Association Images

The dropped shots around the turn, McIlroy says, were simple issues that should have been addressed.

"They were just misreads. The one on nine I should have backed away because I was getting buffeted with the wind. It was sort of the same on ten, I just tried to hit it firm.

"That stretch of the course played very, very difficult yesterday and today. I was happy to pick one shot coming in to finish on even par."

Elsewhere today, Padraig Harrington struggled with the conditions and finished his round on one over-par to sit at level par heading into the weekend.

Like yesterday, Harrington played the back nine quite well and picked up two birdies as well as two bogeys.

The projected cut line was one over for large parts of the day, but changed dramatically due to the conditions and players shooting four over-par would proceed to the weekend.

Graeme McDowell was one of the lucky few who benefited from the shift and means that today's round of even par is good enough to see him into the final two rounds. He had a superb front nine picking up four birdies along the way. However, two bogeys either side of a double bogey was enough to undo his good work.

Paul Dunne and Shane Lowry head home after finishing on 13 over and seven over respectively.