A lack of technology seems to suit Rory McIlroy.
Still in the throes of a split from former fiancee Caroline Wozniacki, McIlroy explained after the first round of the BMW PGA Championship that he had shut off his phone and given away his laptop. The isolation appears to have helped his on-course performance, as he now enters the weekend at Wentworth firmly in contention on a course where he has historically struggled.
McIlroy has made a habit in recent weeks of rebounding from slow starts to his rounds, and he again bounced back Friday. The Ulsterman played his first seven holes in 3 over, but closed with three birdies across his final four holes to finish with a 1-under 71. At 5 under overall, he will begin the third round tied for fifth, five shots behind co-leaders Thomas Bjorn and Shane Lowry after missing the cut at Wentworth each of the last two years.
"Even the way the conditions were, 3 over after seven wasn't great, but it wasn't disastrous," McIlroy said. "I knew I had some chances coming on the back nine. It's sort of been a characteristic of my game for the last few weeks and I knew that I would be okay."
After bogeys on two of his first three holes, McIlroy made a double bogey on the par-4 seventh - a hole where he had holed out a wedge for an eagle 2 the day prior. He eagled the par-5 12th for the second consecutive day, then added circles at Nos. 15, 16 and 18 to finish under par for the round.
Just days after making his breakup known to the public, the 25-year-old reiterated that he views golf as a welcome respite this week from his off-course issues.
"Once you get inside the ropes, you're concentrating on your golf and it's almost like four or five hours of a release to get everything out of your head apart from doing the job at hand," McIlroy said. "It's nice. It's the hours in the day when you're away from it that are probably a little more difficult."