WENTWORTH, United Kingdom (AFP) - World No. 1 Rory McIlroy crashed out of the European PGA Championship at Wentworth on Friday when he missed the cut after collapsing to a six-over par second round 78.
But the 26-year old refused to be downcast at missing only his third cut in 45 events - apart from winning the title here last year his record at Wentworth is mediocre overall.
McIlory, who was one-under par overnight, had a nightmare day, missing seven fairways off the tee and finishing with a two-round total of 149, five-over par.
With around a quarter of the field still out on the course the projected cut was at one-over par, 145, with McIlroy comfortably out of contention and heading back to Ireland for next week’s Irish Open which he is hosting.
“I’m not angry,” McIlroy told reporters.
“A little disappointed I’m not going to be here for the weekend, but if there was any weekend to miss, coming off the back of three good weeks in the States, I’m probably in need of a little bit of a rest.
“As I said, I’d still rather be here but it’s not all bad getting to go home for the weekend.
“Any time you’re defending a title, you want to come back and give it a valiant effort. This week wasn’t really that. I will just dust myself off and get ready for next week at The Irish Open.
“I’m not going to read too much into it. It was inevitable at some point that the run was going to come to a bit of an end.
“I’m sort of back to my usual at Wentworth. It wasn’t great before I won last year and it hasn’t been great after. It is what it is.
“I’d much rather be here for the weekend and try to win another tournament. If anything good comes out of this, it’s just that I get a little bit of a rest over the next couple of days, and feel a bit fresher for what’s going to be a really big week for me next week.”
McIlroy’s day started badly with bogeys at the third and sixth holes and with his errant driving limiting his birdie chances he was struggling to make any impact.
He dropped four shots in four holes from the 10th, making a double bogey six at the 11th and his round was summed up at the par-5 18th.
The Northern Irishman found a poor lie in the rough off the tee, hacked out just short of the water guarding the green and chipped up to the putting surface.
But a sloppy first putt left him a tricky six-footer to save par and when that missed he signed for a 78.
McIlroy was the hot favourite for this tournament when he arrived here with two wins in America this season and one in Dubai already in the locker.
Italy’s Francesco Molinari continued to take advantage of McIlroy’s loss of form and maintained his overnight lead despite making bogey fives at the first and third holes. He recovered to post a 69 to add his opening 65 for a two-round total of 134, 10-under par.
Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo jumped up the leader board with a 65 to finish two shots shy of Molinari alongside Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee who was level with Grillo after a fine 66, six-under the card. James Morrison of England was a shot back from that pair after a 66.
Joost Luiten of Holland was back on five-under par alongside Alex Noren of Sweden and Korea’s YE Yang.