• Shell Houston Open, Round Two

McIlroy sneaks into weekend at Redstone

ESPN staff
March 29, 2013
Rory McIlroy was wayward from the tee at Redstone © AP

Shell Houston Open Leaderboard

Rory McIlroy scrambled into the weekend at the Shell Houston Open as a two-under round of 70 took him to one-under for the tournament.

The world No. 2 had an anxious few hours to wait for the late starters to come in, as there was some doubt as to whether his total would make the cut. It was good enough, just, and he will play the final 36 holes after claiming a tie for 54th.

Since switching to Nike clubs in a multi-million pound deal, McIlroy has struggled for form. He missed the cut in Abu Dhabi, walked off the course when miles back at the Honda Classic and was knocked out in the first round of the World Match Play.

There were positives in his closing round of 65 at the WGC Cadillac Championship, but he looked out of sorts at Redstone and it leaves him waiting to see if he will be around for the weekend.

McIlroy made a wobbly start by finding a bunker with his opening tee shot and it set the tone for a wayward round with the driver - he was down at less than 36% in terms of driving accuracy.

For all his waywardness off the tee, he was able to scramble pars - which he did quite superbly on his fourth hole with a brilliant sand save from a greenside trap.

McIlroy found some momentum on the following hole as a fine approach to four feet set up a birdie and he followed it up by draining an 18-foot putt to get himself under par for the first time in the event.

He had a chance to make it a hat-trick of birdies but left a seven-footer above ground.

The Ulsterman found his fourth bunker of the round off the tee on his 10th but managed to drain a six-foot putt for a par.

The wayward play continued on the 11th as a poor tee shot cost him a penalty stroke and resulted in first bogey of round - sending him back to even-par.

Having repeatedly missed right off the tee, McIlroy leaked a drive left off the 4th tee (his 13th) and it found water. He was able to regroup and make par but it was a missed opportunity.

The par-five eighth cost McIlroy dear on Thursday, but there was no repeat of the double bogey as a solid tee shot set up a routine birdie to take him under par once again.

While McIlroy is well off the pace, Brian Davis is flying the flag for Europe at seven-under. The Englishman, who is still seeking his first win on the PGA Tour, carded a 70 to keep himself firmly in the mix for the weekend.

Steve Wheatcroft, who has spent much of his career on the Web.com Tour, leads the way at 10-under a second consecutive round of 67.

Lee Westwood made two birdies and two bogeys in his round of 72 which leaves him at four-under, while Phil Mickelson scrambled his way into the weekend at one-under despite a bogey on his final hole.

Overnight leader DA Points is one adrift of Wheatcroft at nine-under, as is Jason Kokrak.

Brand Snedeker will not be around for the weekend as a 71 left him at one-over for the 36 holes. It was a similar story for Hunter Mahan.

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