AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - Three sixes proved devilishly irritating for Rory McIlroy in the second round as the world number nine survived the halfway cut at the Masters on Friday by the skin of his teeth.
The 24-year-old Northern Irishman had sixes at the second, 10th and 13th holes and needed to roll in a par-saving six-foot putt at the last for a five-over 77 and a four-under total of 148, qualifying for the weekend by one solitary stroke.
“That was very frustrating,” McIlroy told reporters at Augusta National. “I really couldn’t get anything to go my way.
“I didn’t know if it was going to be a 10-shot rule that was going to come into play,” he added after winding up 11 strokes adrift of tournament leader Bubba Watson of the United States.
“It is a bit of a sigh of relief that I’m here for the weekend.”
Twice major winner McIlroy had to contend with a bad break at the par-five 13th when his ball took a kangaroo-style leap off a sprinkler at the back of the green and finished deep in the azaleas.
“I’ve seen a lot of this golf course in the last few years,” he said, referring to the calamitous 80 he shot in 2011 after going into the last round holding a four-stroke lead.
“Yeah, it was a bad shot on 13. I didn’t quite deserve that though, hitting the sprinkler.”
McIlroy will set off in the first group of the day in Saturday’s third round with just a marker for company.
“I want to go out there and try to get off to a fast start,” he said. “Eleven shots back with two rounds to play is going to be nearly impossible to make up.
“I’m going to be trying to shoot two really low rounds and see where that puts me at the end of the week.
“It will take something phenomenal to shoot something in the mid-60s and get myself back under par going into the last day.”
Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes