Rory McIlroy Struggles on Saturday, Faces Long Odds at PGA Championship 2018

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistAugust 11, 2018

Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, watches a putt on 12th green during the second round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at Bellerive Country Club, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

Rory McIlroy made gains on the leaders as he finished up his rain-delayed second round Saturday.

Unfortunately, he couldn't keep them up when he continued play into Round 3.

McIlroy carded a one-over 71, putting him at two under overall and fully taking him out of contention at the 2018 PGA Championship. He is nine strokes off the lead, which is currently held by Brooks Koepka.

Moving day looked like it was going to be a potentially huge one for McIlroy, who closed his second round with birdies on Nos. 14 and 17 to shoot 67 in a second round that was aborted by rain Friday. There is perhaps no golfer on the planet with a higher ceiling for going low than McIlroy, so his third round opened with high expectations.

It didn't happen. The frustrating round was foreshadowed by him shanking a wedge off the scoreboard during warm-ups for Round 3 and did not get any better from there.  

McIlroy saw his putter and driver in particular fail him, as he started his round with three bogeys in his first seven holes to make the turn at two over. The bogey on No. 7 saw McIlroy miss a putt from five feet for a par save.

Things started to turn around on the back nine, with McIlroy hitting a 10-foot birdie on No. 10 and a 16-footer on No. 11. He gave the strokes immediately back on a mess of a 12th hole that began with a drive into the trees, continued with a pitch out into the rough and included an approach into the sand before finally settling onto the green.

A birdie on No. 14 got one of the two strokes back, and McIlroy finished with four straight pars.

There's not much left for McIlroy to do but play out his final 18 and hope to get back into major contention in 2019.

McIlroy has not won a major championship since the 2014 PGA Championship. At the time, it looked like he was poised to take over the sport. McIlroy hadat that pointwon two straight majors, finished in the top 10 in four of his last five and was the No. 1 golfer in the world in a romp.

There have been a number of near-misses since, but this won't be one. 

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