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Rory McIlroy

Harrington and McIlroy survive as Clarke and McDowell bow out of USPGA

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Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy played through the pain barrier and survived the cut at the USPGA Championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club – then admitted he was lucky to be playing at all.

Padraig Harrington will join McIlroy when the third round gets underway but Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell are already on the way home.

McIlroy attracted most Irish interest in the second round after his bizarre battle with the exposed root of a tree on Thursday almost forced him out of the tournament.

The 22-year-old from Holywood in County Down bravely ignored tendon damage in his wrist on Friday to finish on three over for the tournament.

“The wrist is okay,” insisted McIlroy after an eventful second round 73.

“It is no worse than it was on Thursday. It is uncomfortable and it is there at the back of your mind whenever you hit a shot.

“It is tough when you can’t hit the shot as you want it but it’s not as bad as it was and I’ll be okay for the weekend.”

The pain wasn’t the problem for McIlroy on Friday. He admitted: “I hit it okay today, I just didn’t putt very well. I am finding it very hard to read the greens.

“Even with a broken wrist, I should be putting better than I am.”
McIlroy is looking forward to the weekend. “I get the feeling that if you can play well out there and read the greens, the course will reward you,” he added.

“I feel there’s a good number there for me. If I can get back into red numbers on Saturday it will give me a chance going into Sunday.”

US Open champion McIlroy was lucky to stay in the final Major of the season when he hit a shot off the exposed root of a tree on the third hole of his opening round on Thursday.

McIlroy required attention from two physios on course as he played on and he then underwent scans on his wrist that evening.

A quick warm-up on the range on Friday morning convinced the Ulsterman that he was able to play on despite the pain in his wrist.

Playing alongside British Open champion Darren Clarke and Masters winner Charl Schwartzel, McIlroy had an eventful second round when his putting and not the pain in his wrist was his major problem.

He opened with a triple putt – and a bogey – on the tenth, his first hole of the day – and eventually signed for a three over par 73.

He’s well off the pace but in the field for the weekend. Not so lucky was British Open winner Clarke who easily missed the cut on his 14 over total.
Fellow Irishman Graeme McDowell, 12 over after a second round 78, is also out of the weekend action.

Harrington ended up as the best of the Irish after a second round 69 left him two over for the tournament, one better than McIlroy and seven shots off the pace set by Americans Jason Dufner and Keegan Bradley.

Three time Major winner Harrington is taking nothing for granted going into the weekend despite some impressive form as he starts life with new coach Pete Cowen.

“I wouldn’t accept anything you were offering to me bar first place,” said Harrington on Friday night.

“I would take my chance. But the fact is, nobody is going to give me anything, anyway. I have to go out there and play it. But I take my chances.

“Even if you gave me a Top 10, I’d take my chances.”

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