Rory McIlroy was delighted to recover from an “horrendous” start to his second round of the US PGA Championship and make the halfway cut at Bethpage.
McIlroy was heading for an early exit after dropping five shots in his first three holes of the day to limp to the turn in 40, but the four-time major winner produced a hat-trick of birdies from the fourth and picked up another shot on the eighth.
The resulting 71 left McIlroy on the early projected cut of three over and with the Black Course posing a daunting test, almost certainly safely through to the weekend.
“I just needed to see one putt to go in, to see something hit the bottom of the hole and that was on the fourth,” the 30-year-old said. “From there I started to play some good golf.
“I had an horrendous start, five over after three, but came back well and the goal after those three holes was to be here for the weekend and it looks like I have done that, which is nice.”
Asked what kept him going after slumping to seven over par for the tournament, McIlroy added: “Pride. Just pride. Just trying to play a good round of golf and try to get something that’s close to the best out of myself.
“And I don’t like missing cuts. It’s not something that I’m used to fortunately and I wanted to be around for the weekend. At least if you’re around for the weekend you can go out there and maybe shoot a good one and at least give yourself half a chance.
“I was four over through three in Boston a couple of years ago and ended up winning the tournament, and that just sort of came back into my mind after I made that start. So in a way it’s calming.
“I’ve been in this position before and I’ve been able to come back. Or you go back to Birkdale (the 2017 Open) a couple of years ago where I was five over through six and shot 71 and ended up with half a chance on the back nine that week.”
“So it’s not as if I haven’t been in those positions before, it’s just a matter of not pressing too much and staying patient and letting the good golf sort of come through. Took a while today, but it eventually got here.”