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Donald came to the U.S. Open with six wins in the past 18 months, more than any other player. Last year, the 34-year-old Englishman pulled off an unprecedented feat by topping the money lists on both the PGA and European tours.

Now he’ll probably miss the weekend for the third time in nine U.S. Open starts.

Donald followed his birdie-free 79 _ which even 14-year-old qualifier Andy Zhang matched Thursday _ with a less erratic second round. He had five bogeys and three birdies to card a 72, coming up empty in yet another major.

“That’s the one part of my golfing resume in the last few years, especially, that I need to continually address and continually improve,” Donald said. “I want to win one more than any of you guys know.”

At least one person didn’t care.

Donald was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday honors list released Saturday for spending almost a year at the top of golf’s world ranking.

“Not sure the Queen will be watching,” Donald joked earlier this week in response to a curious British reporter’s question. “But who knows?”

Her Majesty won’t have the chance.

The fast and fickle fairways some of the game’s top players hacking out of rough and digging into sand for shots. Others searched for balls in the colossal cypress trees or pushed putts all over the rock-hard greens. Some did all of them.

The only thing more startling than the top-ranked player’s early exit was last year’s champion.

McIlroy mixed five bogeys _ including one on his final hole _ with a pair of birdies in the second round a day after he posted a 77. The 23-year-old from Northern Ireland shattered U.S. Open records last June at rain-softened Congressional, finishing at 268 to break the 72-hole record by four shots, and his 16-under total was four better than Woods’ mark at Pebble Beach in 2000.

What a pushover that course look like now.

“It’s just the course is so tough with the reverse cambers and you hit it in the middle of the fairway sometimes it doesn’t hold and you’re in the rough and when you hit it in the rough it makes it difficult,’ McIlroy said about Olympic. “They set it up like a real classic U.S. Open.”


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