CROMWELL Conn. — Rory McIlroy held the Travelers Championship's lead alone through 11 holes on Friday. Then, disaster struck.
On TPC River Highland's par-4 12th, the Northern Irishman pulled his tee shot out of bounds and then hit a provisional into the right rough. With 154 yards to the hole, his approach shot finished in the greenside bunker. He then hit his bunker shot over the green and would end up carding a quadruple-bogey 8.
Another saga for McIlroy occurred on the par-4 15th. He sliced his drive to the spectators on the hill. After chipping out of the weeds, it looked like he would avoid another disaster with a clean 54-foot look to the hole. However, he bladed his chip into the water and would card a double bogey.
"For whatever reason, I haven't been comfortable with my fairway woods the last couple weeks," McIlroy said after his even-par 70 round. "I just hit three loose ones there, two on 12 and then the one on 15. That was really it. I played well the rest of the way. Obviously got off to that great start. I thought I came back well. I made a good putt for 6 on 15 and then birdied 16.
"Yeah, I should be closer to the lead. Feel like I let a lot of guys into the golf tournament because of it."
One of those guys was his playing partner, Kevin Kisner, who moved to T-2 with a second-round 64. However, Kisner still recognizes McIlroy (T-7) as a threat this weekend thanks to an opening 62 and seven birdies in Round 2.
"I think it's pretty impressive [McIlroy] shot even par with a quad and a double," Kisner said, "so he's playing awesome golf. Just one bad swing really and off you go."
McIlroy has risen to No. 2 in the world ranking — his highest ranking in two years — behind his last six starts, which include a runner-up at the Masters, fifth at the Wells Fargo Championship, eighth at the PGA Championship, T-18 at the Memorial, a win at the RBC Canadian Open and a T-5 last week at the U.S. Open.
McIlroy, who's six shots off Xander Schauffele's 14 under lead, won't dwell on a few bad swings as he still has 36 holes left to play in Connecticut.
"There is a lot of time left and I know that there is so many birdies on the golf course for me," McIlroy said. "It's just a matter of not trying to force the issue, stay patient, and if I keep playing the golf I know I can play, I'll hopefully get a little closer to that lead."