Rory McIlroy looks to overcome second round hump at The Open
By Bernie D'Amato under The Open Championship


Rory McIlroy enters Open Championship week in good form. McIlroy won the European Tour’s BMW PGA Championship in May, and the only thing holding him back from winning more is a case of the second round blues. At last week’s Scottish Open, he opened with 64-78. If Rory shakes his bad habit, then he will be a top contender at Royal Liverpool.

At today’s press conference, McIlroy spoke about his tendency to shoot a high number in the second round. “I have no problem shooting a low one on Thursday, there should be no reason I have any problem shooting a low one on Friday. I think I just got into my head. It’s something that I need to go out and pretend like it’s a Thursday again or…Just play and play a few solid holes and get your round underway that way. So hopefully, this week I can start to turn that second round thing around, and start shooting some better scores.”

Shooting a low number at Hoylake requires taking advantage of the four par-5s. Rory said, “I think the par-5s are a big key this week. If you look back at ’06, I think Tiger played the par-5s in 14-under par. So the majority of his scoring was done on the par-5s. There are four really good opportunities to make birdies out here. Par-5s are going to be crucial.”

With the lush conditions, it will also be crucial to get the ball in the fairway, and McIlroy will hit several tee shots with a 2-iron. “I’ll use it on the first two holes, definitely. I think it will be an important club. I might use it like four or five times during the round. I’ll probably use a 2-iron just as much as I’ll use the driver.”

The 2-iron will be one of the strategies that may help Rory win an Open Championship. He said, “But hopefully I will evolve as a links player and go forward and improve. And The Open Championship is a tournament that’s very important to me, and my record in it hasn’t been as good as I’d like. I’d love to improve on that.”

McIlroy has shown flashes of brilliance in major championships, and if the second round doesn’t give him trouble, there is little reason to doubt Rory’s ability to contend at Hoylake.

–Bernie D’Amato