TROON, United Kingdom (AFP) - The moment that summed up a frustrating afternoon for Rory McIlroy at the British Open on Saturday (July 16) came at the 16th hole at Royal Troon.
After slicing his approach shot way right at the 546-yard par-five, McIlroy threw the offending 3-wood in anger, sending the club head flying.
"I'll get it reshafted tonight and all will be well in the morning," said the Northern Irishman at the end of his two-over-par 73.
"The club head came loose on it earlier on the week. I had to get the head re-glued. So it was probably partly to do with that and partly the throw as well."
McIlroy's frustration came from his inability to build on a starting position of two-under at the halfway stage.
He took to the tee on Saturday afternoon eight shots adrift of leader Phil Mickelson but had spoken of his optimism after a second-round 71 in abysmal weather conditions on Friday.
And yet he began with a bogey at the par-four first and also dropped shots at the third and the fifth.
There were birdies at the long fourth and six holes but his putting let him down on several occasions and he came home in one-over after a bogey at the 15th.
"I think I've been saying all week that you need to get off to a good start on this golf course, and you need to be under par early, and I wasn't able to do that," the 2014 champion admitted.
"Just to be over par on the front was tough because you can't really expect to pick up too many shots on the back nine because of how tough it is playing.
"I actually felt like I played ok on the back nine and held it together quite well. I obviously had the bogey on 15, and actually had a decent chance on 16 to make birdie.
"But, yeah, it was one of those days that was a tough day. I just wish I had got off to a better start. Maybe it would have given me a little bit more of a cushion going into the back nine."
With Mickelson in such outstanding form, McIlroy would have to break records to win the Open from his position - the biggest final-round comeback to win the Claret Jug remains Paul Lawrie's improbable victory from 10 shots back in 1999.
"Go out and try to shoot a good score and try to finish as high as I possibly can," is therefore McIlroy's aim for Sunday.