Rory McIlroy vaults up leaderboard as Jon Rahm set to miss cut at Travelers

Rory McIlroy vaulted himself into contention after Friday's round of the PGA Tour event, while Jon Rahm went the opposite direction.

Lara Kuipers's picture
Fri, 23 Jun 2023
Rory McIlroy vaults up leaderboard as Jon Rahm set to miss cut at Travelers

Rory McIlroy has vaulted himself up the leaderboard at the Travelers Championship following an impressive second round at TPC River Highlands on Friday.

McIlroy, 34, has had a solid past few weeks of golf but has consistently come up narrowly short of a win.

Last week at the US Open, the Northern Irishman finished one-stroke back of winner Wyndham Clark in another major heartbreak.

McIlroy's nine-year search for his fifth major continues, with next month's Open Championship at Royal Liverpool his last chance in 2023.

On Thursday in Connecticut, following his runner-up in California, McIlroy shot a respectable 2-under par 68.

His round was highlighted by his very first ace on the PGA Tour, which came at the 214-yard par-3 8th. He finished the day eight-strokes back of 18-hole leader Denny McCarthy who came within millimeters from a 59.

Despite no hole-in-one's on his scorecard for Friday's round, McIlroy was a birdie-machine. He ultimately carded a 6-under 64, even more impressive considering he ended the round with a painful double-bogey at the par-3 8th.

Coincidentally, the 8th hole was the same hole he had made the ace on the day prior.

"Yeah, it was much better," McIlroy said following his round, comparing it to Thursday's. "Way better on the greens as well. I think when you can get out in the morning here the greens are so much better. They haven't started to seed yet and they're not quite as bumpy as the afternoon.

"So feel like you can -- there was a lot of 20-footers in the afternoon and you're just trying to finish by the hole because you don't want to have the three- and four-footers on way back. You can be a little more aggressive with your putts, and that paid off for me this morning and held quite a few.
"Everything was just a little bit better today. I played more solid, gave myself more opportunities, you know, eradicated most of the mistakes I made yesterday."

The low score catapulted the World No. 3 up the leaderboard, and in a solid position heading into the weekend of the designated event.

World No. 2 Jon Rahm did not experience the same fortunes on Friday.

Instead, the Spaniard followed up Thursday's 67 with a 1-over 71 for a tournament total of 2-under. He was 13-strokes back of the leaders and outside the cut line as the afternoon wave began to wrap up their rounds.

McCarthy followed up his first-round 60 with a 65 on Friday and was tied for the lead with Keegan Bradley, who had shot rounds of 62 and 63. The pair were both at 15-under par after completing their 36 holes.

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