Published: Sat, May 05, 2018
Sports | By Brandy Patterson

'Apprehensive' McIlroy in hunt as Tiger 'struggled' with speed

'Apprehensive' McIlroy in hunt as Tiger 'struggled' with speed

He was trying to blast out to 15 feet, but he got the club too much under the ball and feared for the worst until it cleared the lip by inches.

He got that shot back on the second when another fine approach shot saw him slot in a 10-foot breaking putt for a fourth birdie of the day.

"I got on to the first tee (on Sunday) and it was like "Wow, this is pretty cool, it feels like there's a lot of people rooting for me here". He finally made one, and stretched out both hands in mock celebration when it dropped.

"The way this golf course is set up and the way it's playing right now, the guys are going to be stacked", Woods said.

"I'm feeling good, confident in what I've been doing, and I'm letting it show on the course rather than letting it stress me out", said the 30-year-old, who has one victory on the Tour.

Of the rest Ryan Ruffles will be hoping to make the most of a sponsor's exemption into the field after playing less than his best in the team environment last week. He was nine shots back after 36 holes but won by four after shooting 66-62 on the weekend.

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"I struggled with my speed all day", Woods said.

Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson also had to sweat it out.

It was more a case of the birthday blues rather than celebrations as Rory McIlroy fought an errant game to shoot a five-over-par 76 second round at the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Golf Club, a tournament in which he made his breakthrough win on the PGA Tour some eight years ago and became the only two-time victor of the tournament when lifting the trophy again in 2015.

Everyone will start Saturday within 10 shots of the lead. Bogeys on holes 6, 11 and 14 cost Woods, who finished the second round with a birdie on the ninth hole after finishing Thursday with three.

Rory McIlroy once again had the chance to complete the career grand slam last month at Augusta and came up agonisingly close.

The scene of his famous first Major triumph when he lifted the US Open in emphatic fashion in 2011, McIlroy - celebrating his 29th birthday - failed to find that kind of form and slipped away from the leaders.

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"I've always enjoyed the golf course through the different variations of it from 2010 all the way up until now".

"I don't see him retiring anytime soon", Peterson said with a smile. I was disappointed because I just didn't give a good account of myself on that final day.

He was at his best over the last three holes Friday. The greens were firm, with balls bouncing high upon landing. So when they change greens - I putt a lot on memory. Didn't birdie any of the par-5s.

Three birdies in his first six holes (starting on the back nine) saw McIlroy show no signs of rust after nearly a month out of action.

He was rewarded with a six-under-par 65 at Quail Hollow, and a two-stroke lead.

He recovered beautifully from a wild tee shot on the final hole by cutting a short iron from the pine needles to the back fringe and two-putted for his par. He holed a bunker shot for eagle on the par-5 10th. I feel like I've played my way into the rhythm of it.

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