- US Open, Round Two
Rory & Donald miss cut as McDowell flies flag
Defending champion Rory McIlroy missed the cut at the US Open after a lapse in concentration saw him miss a two-footer on the final hole of his second round.
McIlroy, looking to bounce back after a difficult opening round on Thursday, reached the par-three 8th, his final hole of Friday's round, at nine-over for the tournament - but a moment of absent-mindedness saw him make a hash of his tap-in for par.
That mistake confirmed he would miss the cut at Olympic Club - joining playing partner Luke Donald on the sidelines over the weekend.
Donald, the world No. 1, had all-but ended his tournament chances with a 79 to begin proceedings and, while a follow-up 72 was respectable, his 11-over total for 36 holes will see him miss the weekend's action in San Francisco.
The cut is expected to be around eight-over but could well slip to nine-over - although that will not be a problem for the third member of McIlroy's group, Lee Westwood, who will have a chance to move up the leaderboard in the second half of the tournament after finishing five-over.
European hopes are currently riding with 2010 US Open champion Graeme McDowell, who endured a difficult finish to his round but nevertheless sits among the clubhouse leaders at one-over.
One-under when beginning his round on the ninth on Friday, the Northern Irishman reached two-under for the tournament at one point but Olympic's formidably difficult front nine eventually punished him - as four bogeys and a solitary birdie left him just over par overall.
The only man ahead of him in the clubhouse, however, was playing partner and fellow former champion of this event Jim Furyk - the 2003 winner flying under the radar to card a second round of 69 after an opening 70 and become the first man (so far) to be under par after 36 holes.
Nevertheless, the marquee group of the morning involved the three top-ranked Europeans - but none of them lived up to their billing as Westwood was the only one who just about kept himself in tournament contention.
Donald was far more precise than in his damaging opening round, but nevertheless could not get in position to threaten the cut-line - with a failure to birdie the short par-four seventh (his 17th) ultimately sealing his fate.
McIlroy gave himself a chance at eagle at the same hole which would have almost certainly sealed his participation over the weekend, but was forced to settle for a birdie that left him likely needing to pick up another shot at his last, the par-three eighth.
An iron shot to 15-feet set up that opportunity, but McIlroy was not able to make the putt as it slid narrowly to the right. It was then that disaster - or, more accurately, human fallibility - struck, as the defending champion rushed his par attempt and saw it lip out.
Forced to settle for 10-over, his fate was confirmed - and the Northern Irishman did not bother to hang around for the rest of the field to finish.
Elsewhere, big-hitting Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts and 23-year-old American John Peterson are also both well placed at one-over for the tournament, after second rounds of 69 and 70 respectively.
Pre-tournament hot tips Hunter Mahan, Jason Dufner and Matt Kuchar are well-placed alongside Aaron Watkins at three-over.
Sergio Garcia, Ernie Els, Charlie Wi, Martin Kaymer and Nick Watney - he of the Thursday albatross - are all four-over, while Ian Poulter and John Senden are level with Westwood in the clubhouse at five-over.
Steve Stricker is also four-over for the tournament after the round of the day so far, a two-under par 68 that included an eagle at the 17th after he holed out from the fairway.
Players waiting to see if they will make the cut at nine-over include Casey Martin, Bill Haas and former champion Lucas Glover.