DUBAI -- Defending champion Rory McIlroy admitted that missing the cut at one of his favourite events did cross his mind but said that the recovery that he managed to stage has now possibly put him back in the mix.
The Northern Ulsterman had another bad start in the second round of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and it got even worse as the day progressed.
After a front nine which had four bogeys and just one birdie, McIlroy bogeyed the 11 th and was in danger of missing the cut. But the 26-year-old, who is gunning a third Desert Classic title, fired four birdies, including three on the bounce in the final three holes to salvage his round.
McIlroy finished par and dropped down 17 places from tied sixth overnight to tied 23rd, six shots off the pace.
"I didn't have my best stuff with me and struggled at the start of the round and around the middle of the round," McIlroy said after wrapping up his round.
"I felt like I played some decent golf out there. I missed a few short putts. Just wasn't really committing to the lines I was picking, a couple of tentative putts, a couple of loose shots. I needed something just to, first and foremost, be here for the weekend. Then birdieing the last three holes, definitely gives me a little bit of momentum going into the weekend. I bounced back well and persevered and got something out of the round in the end," he added.
McIlroy said that he did contemplate the possibility of missing the cut. "I was definitely thinking about it, especially over the putt on 12. I bogeyed 11 and had a 6-footer for par on 12, and if I missed that, 1-over for the tournament, would have been a long way back from there. Sort of to make that putt and play the next six holes at 4-under par was a nice way to finish," said McIlroy.
He still has a lot of work to do to make up five shots if he intends to be in contention going into the final day on Sunday. But McIlroy felt it was still possible and the key was to have a good start on Saturday.
"No, not at all," McIlroy said when asked whether it was impossible to reduce the deficit.
"There are a lot of players between myself and the lead but at the same time, I've come back from bigger deficits than this, and this is one of my favourite places. If I can get off to a faster start tomorrow (Saturday), you never know, and I'll get better conditions, as well. I'll be out a little earlier. The greens and the course in general got very firm and very fast out there, so hopefully I can get out in the morning and post a good score," he said.
McIlroy, who teed off just past noon, also revealed that the Majlis Course and the conditions towards the later part of the day were different than in the morning.
"The course got a lot firmer and faster as the day went on and I think the wind played a little bit of a factor, as well. The wind was affecting putts sometimes. It was tough. I'm in a way thankful that I'm not going to be out in one of the last pairings tomorrow (Saturday), because I feel like I'll get some of the better conditions and the course will be a little more receptive, and at least be able to get the ball pretty close to the hole and give yourself chances," concluded McIlroy.
This article was written by James Jose from Khaleej Times and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.