VIRGINIA WATER, England — Rory McIlroy missed the cut at the BMW PGA Championship on Friday after his game disintegrated in spectacular fashion in a second straight errant round at Wentworth, leaving his grip on the No. 1 ranking under serious threat from Luke Donald.
The U.S. Open champion made seven bogeys and two double bogeys in a 7-over 79 to finish 9 over — a massive 21 strokes behind James Morrison, whose superb 64 gave him a four-shot lead on Donald (68) and first-round co-leader David Drysdale (70).
McIlroy's hopes had evaporated by the midway point in his second round, when he endured a disastrous spell of seven dropped shots in six holes from No. 8 to No. 13. He looked sullen and his shoulders dropped as he walked along the fairways contemplating a second straight missed cut, having succumbed to the same fate at The Players Championship in Florida two weeks ago...
It revived memories of his infamous meltdowns at last year's Masters and at the 2010 British Open, when he shot 80 both times. It was the first time in more than two years that McIlroy has failed to make the weekend at two consecutive tournaments, giving the second-ranked Donald a great opportunity to replace him as No. 1.
"I might have taken my eye of the ball a little bit," McIlroy said. "Maybe just haven't practiced as hard as I might have been.
"It's a week I'd like to forget."
Only 13 players in the 150-man field have returned scores higher than McIlroy in this tournament. With a quarter of the field yet to finish, the cut is projected at 1 over and No. 3-ranked Lee Westwood is on that mark after a 75.
Morrison, who played cricket for England at youth-team level, had four birdies in the five holes around the turn to put him in the lead. Morrison holed an eagle putt at the par-5 last, for the second day running, to put even more distance between his rivals.
"Definitely one of the best rounds I've ever had and probably one of the easiest, funnily enough," said Morrison, who lives a few miles away from Wentworth. "It felt easy. I wish golf was like that every day."
McIlroy tossed a club to the ground in despair on Thursday — which could result in a fine — after opening with a 2-over 74. But he said his game was in decent shape, pledging to turn things around on a West Course where he's struggled in recent years.
That turnaround didn't materialize.
"It's something about the middle of this golf course I can't get to grips with," said McIlroy, who knew his round was in jeopardy when he bogeyed No. 10 for the second straight day. "I knew it was going to have to do something special to make the cut then."
Peter Lawrie of Ireland (71), who shared the overnight lead with Drysdale on 6 under, and Alvaro Quiros of Spain (70) were five shots back. Tenth-ranked Justin Rose shot a 71.
Donald, the reigning champion, must finish eighth on his own or higher to leapfrog his Ryder Cup teammate.
The Englishman delivered a dominant putting performance to shoot a second straight 68 and move up the leaderboard at the West Course.
"I'm feeling strong on the greens," Donald said. "Every time I've had opportunities, I'm seeing the line and got the speed down and making some good putts."
Morrison's only previous tournament win came at the Madeira Islands Open in 2010. A second victory would be a great way to sign off for a break ahead of the birth of his first child next month.