McIlroy stumbles, falls nine back of Casey at Memorial

Fri May 30, 2014 7:57pm EDT
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(Reuters) - Overnight leader Rory McIlroy experienced a stunning free-fall to plunge nine strokes behind leader Paul Casey after the second round at the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio on Friday.

After snaring the first-round lead with an opening 63 at Muirfield Village Golf Club, McIlroy notched three consecutive double bogeys en route to a six-over-par 78.

But he did not blame his dismal day on a sore left knee he tweaked during the first round, instead admitting that it was poor driving caused his high score.

"I just kept missing fairways and making it tough for myself and obviously that little three-hole stretch didn't help," the Northern Irishman told reporters on a day when Englishman Casey surged three shots clear of the field.

"Take those three holes out and it wouldn't have been that bad a day but these little runs I'm getting on it just seems to get away from me."

McIlroy was referring to the bad habit he has fallen into recently of shooting poor second rounds. In his past three PGA Tour events, he shot 77 (Masters), 76 (Wells Fargo Championship) and 74 (Players Championship) on Friday.

McIlroy arrived at Muirfield Village fresh off winning the European Tour's flagship BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth on Sunday, just days after breaking up with his tennis-playing fiancee Caroline Wozniacki.

His double-bogey run on Friday started at his fourth hole, the par-four 13th, where his second shot from the rough hit a tree and ended up even deeper in the woods.

At the par-four 14th, his approach shot from the juicy rough hit the bank of the pond protecting the green and bounced into the hazard.   Continued...

May 30, 2014; Dublin, OH, USA;  Rory McIlroy hits a tee shot during the second round of The Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports