Putting remains work in progress for McIlroy (65)


LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Rory McIlroy shot 65 Friday and wasn’t thrilled about it.

That’s a sign of progress for the world No. 1.

Despite another pedestrian day on the greens, McIlroy moved onto the first page of the leaderboard here at the BMW Championship. The only problem? He’s still nine shots off the lead (and in a tie for eighth) heading into the weekend. 

“The par for us out here really should be 67 or 66,” McIlroy said. “Anyone not shooting scores around that or better, you’re going to go backward.”

Conway Farms was there for the taking Friday after heavy overnight rain. Players had preferred lies in the second round, and McIlroy took advantage by hitting all but one of the 14 fairways.

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His biggest issue remained on the greens, where he took only 26 putts but still missed several birdie opportunities, including a 3-footer for birdie on 16.

McIlroy finished near the bottom in putting stats at TPC Boston, where he tied for 29th, and afterward chatted with Dave Stockton about his technique.

Through two rounds here he has lost nearly a shot to the field on the greens – and ranks 46th out of 70 players – but he is trying to use more knee bend at address, which he hopes will eliminate some of his lower-body movement. 

“I’m working hard on my putting,” he said. “There are still a few technical issues I need to get straight. When you are working on stuff like that, your confidence isn’t quite there, either. I still think it’s an improvement. I just need to try and keep getting better over the course of the next few weeks.”

McIlroy hasn’t gotten into serious contention in two starts since returning from an ankle injury. That’s why when he saw his name on one of the leaderboards out on the course, he turned to caddie J.P. Fitzgerald and smiled.

“I was like, 'I haven’t been in the top 10 since June,'” he said, “so it’s quite a bit of time.”