Rory McIlroy endured an up-and-down Friday at the 2013 U.S. Open, which included the conclusion of Round 1 and all of Round 2. He stands at three-over par, which was six strokes behind lead Phil Mickelson when McIlroy finished his afternoon.
McIlroy started the second day of action by resuming his opening round. Weather delays disrupted play on Thursday and made it tough to find a rhythm. The Northern Irishman finished on a low note as he bogeyed No. 11 to drop back to even par.
As you'd expect, the hype surrounding his group with Tiger Woods and Adam Scott was immense. The top three players in the world were under serious pressure throughout and gave golf fans quite a spectacle to start the season's second major.
Let's recap McIlroy's 25 holes of play on Friday at Merion Golf Club.
Rory McIlroy's Round 1 Scorecard
McIlroy started Day 2 on the 12th hole at even par.
Rory McIlroy's Round 2 Scorecard
All scores for both rounds are courtesy of the tournament's official site.
2013 US Open Leaderboard
McIlroy faced an interesting challenge to begin Day 2. He was heading into the toughest stretch on the course with the knowledge he had another entire round to play. Making matters worse, he had to sleep on the aforementioned bogey on No. 11 to finish yesterday.
He didn't handle it well during the finish of Round 1. After three straight pars to start the morning, he bogeyed three of the final four holes to post a three-over round of 73. He was 1-under par through 10, making for a disappointing three-stroke swing.
Rory McIlroy out of a bunker, on his way to a 73. pic.twitter.com/sw32F08kEP— Joe Fleming (@ByJoeFleming) June 14, 2013
The only good news for McIlroy was he kept within reach of both of his playing partners and fellow top contenders. Woods and Scott also struggled to find top form and were forced to head into their short break with over-par rounds.
No one in the glitzy U.S. Open group got off to an auspicious start. Scott shot 72, Rory and Tiger 73.— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) June 14, 2013
McIlroy used the short rest to regroup and came out firing. Starting on the 11th hole in Round 2, he birdied each of the first two holes to immediately recover a couple of the lost shots from earlier in the day. His ball-striking was much better at the outset.
Beautiful start for Rory McIlroy, who birdies 11 and 12 to get back to +1. He'll have another birdie look at 13 from below the hole. #USOpen— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) June 14, 2013
The results throughout the rest of the back nine were all a matter of perspective. He played the next six holes in one-over par, failing to maintain that early momentum. But when you consider that's the toughest stretch on the course, it's likely a result the world's No. 2 was satisfied with.
McIlroy's next three holes were a prime example of the inconsistency that's prevented him from winning a PGA Tour event this season.
On the first, he hit a couple lackluster shots and was unable the save par, instead dropping another shot. Then he was unable to take advantage of the par-five second and parred.
At No. 3, he looked like a top-tier contender again. He knocked it on the green to give himself a mid-range look at birdie and converted, moving back to two-over par.
Unfortunately for McIlroy, he gave the shot right back on the next hole, the second (and final) par five of his second round. Even though they aren't gimme birdies at Merion, playing the two par fives in 1-over par is far from ideal.
He came extremely close to disaster on the fifth as his shot rolled through the fairway and toward the hazard. It stayed up in the rough, however, and McIlroy did very well to get up and down to save par.
After a trio of pars, McIlroy kept up the trend of gaining strokes on the field and then falling right back. Another good birdie putt at No. 8 got him back to two-under par. But he followed it with a very poor tee shot on the ninth and couldn't get up and down for par.
Tiger grazes the hole on 9 but it stays up.....Rory smashes it past & will drop 1 at least— ByTheMinGolf (@ByTheMinGolf) June 14, 2013
McIlroy wrapped up his marathon day with a par on the 10th, finishing the first two rounds at three-over par. Not a perfect start, but it would be unwise to count him out.