Jun
17
2011
McIlroy Lapping the Field *Update*
By Conor Nagle under US Open

Rory: cruising to a huge overnight lead?

If Rory McIlroy’s opening 65 left him with some important questions to answer, he’s gone about answering them emphatically over the course of the first fifteen holes of his second round.

Three birdies and an eagle have seen the youngster, who is yet to make a bogey (let that settle in for a second…), eight shots clear of the field on -11. Swinging the club with the sort of freedom and confidence we haven’t seen in a major contender since *deep breath* Tiger Woods dismantled Pebble Beach over a decade ago, it looks he’s on his way to laying down a historic marker for the weekend.

In fact, McIlroy is within a shot of reaching the lowest under-par total in US Open history. *Update* A birdie at sixteen, after his eagle putt grazed the edge of the hole, and another at seventeen (!), has seen Rory to thirteen-under! He’s just set a new US Open record. Should he finish his round with anything less than a catastrophe, he’ll probably also take the largest 36-hole lead in US Open history into the weekend. The previous record was is/was six, set by that man in 2000.

Playing a course the setup of which seems to nearly accentuate the net value of ball-striking ability, he’s playing a game of fairway and greens that the rest of the field are struggling to match with any sort of consistency. Where we could have (and did) say the same thing for the first three rounds of the Masters, one would have to think that the field will find it more difficult to bridge a sizeable gap here than at Augusta.

Incredibly, we could be looking at Northern Ireland, a country with a population of under two million, winning back-to-back US Opens.

Conor Nagle