With cold and rainy conditions once again a dominant force at the European Tour's flagship event, the Ulsterman had a tumultuous round Friday that included five bogeys on the front nine. Needing a strong finish to make the weekend, McIlroy instead took a double bogey on the par-5 17th hole, ultimately carding a 3-over 75. At 5-over 149, the reigning PGA champion was projected to miss the cut by three shots upon conclusion of his round.
McIlroy was far from the only player to struggle Friday, though, and was not even the lone notable Ulsterman to miss the cut. Countryman and fellow U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell will also sit out the weekend, having matched McIlroy's total of 5-over 149 for the first two rounds. McDowell entered with momentum on his side, just one week removed from a win at the Volvo World Match Play Championship in Bulgaria, but managed just two total birdies across 36 holes at Wentworth. After the round, he tweeted that Friday was 'one of the coldest, toughest days I've had on the course in a long time.'
Like McIlroy and McDowell, two-time defending champion Luke Donald missed the cut after ballooning to a 78 in Thursday's opening round, playing the first 36 holes in 6-over 150. It marks just the second missed cut all-time on the European Tour for Donald, who was also a runner-up at this event in 2010 in addition to his wins in both 2011 and 2012.
Ian Poulter rounds out the foursome of notable names that made an early exit from one of the biggest events in Europe, shooting a pair of 76s. After a surprising match play elimination last week in Bulgaria, the Englishman vowed to 'get back to England and go win at Wentworth.' Instead, Poulter made just one birdie in Friday's second round and finished at 8 over, six shots off the projected cut line.
Not all hope is lost, though, for golf fans looking to see some of the game's best this weekend at Wentworth. Both Lee Westwood and Ernie Els will begin the third round at 3 under, three shots off the lead currently held by Francesco Molinari.