Perfect McIlroy wants to avoid fright day

Thu Jul 17, 2014 12:18pm EDT
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By Martyn Herman

HOYLAKE England (Reuters) - Fridays have become fright days for Rory McIlroy this year, with a series of inexplicable second-round meltdowns, but he hopes to break the curse this week at the British Open.

McIlroy produced a scintillating first-round 66 at a baking Royal Liverpool course on Thursday to top the leaderboard - a position he has become accustomed to.

With some stormy weather expected to roll in, however, what happens during his second round may determine whether he can add this year's British Open to his 2011 U.S. Open and 2012 U.S. PGA Championship titles.

The omens are not good.

At the Memorial Tournament in Ohio in May he followed a chart-topping 63 with a 78, in Dubai earlier this year he suffered a seven-stroke dip and last week at the Scottish Open he went from the sublime to the ridiculous, following a 64 with an horrendous 78.

Throw in the second-round 80 he carded at the British Open in 2010 (when he went on to finish third) after an opening 63 and another costly Friday 75 at Lytham two years ago, and the Northern Irishman has every right to feel a little uneasy.

Asked for his explanation, McIlroy told reporters: "Whenever I go out and play on Thursdays there's not really many expectations.

"You're going out there trying to find a rhythm, you're just trying to play your way into the round.   Continued...

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits from a bunker on the 16th hole during the first round of the British Open Championship at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, northern England July 17, 2014.  REUTERS/Toby Melville