Rory McIlroy has missed another cut and played his final round of competitive golf before the British Open and failing to progress at the Irish Open.
The world number two joined fellow major winners Padraig Harrington, Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell and Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley out the exit door at Carton House.
The Ulsterman hit a second round 72 to finish on two over par for his only two rounds at his national championship, the latest blow in a disappointing season since his multi-million dollar switch to Nike.
McIlroy won’t play again until the Open championship at Muirfield as he has sponsorship commitments to fulfil and a family wedding to attend before the big tournament in Scotland in just over a fortnight.
After missing the cut in Kildare, he admitted to reporters: “If I did not have those commitments I probably would play in Scotland or France, but as long as I play rounds and be competitive myself - play with one ball - it’s the same sort of thing.
“My schedule has been light, but from the Open onwards I am playing seven events in nine or 10 weeks. I still have a lot of golf to play.
“It was a new driver in the bag this week but it’s still not 100% so I will be testing next week, but it’s definitely more swing than it is club. Two weeks is a lot of time to try and get something right and hopefully I will be ready for Muirfield.
“It’s not great for the tournament that myself, Graeme, Darren, Padraig and Paul McGinley are not here for the weekend, but we have Shane up there and after playing with him for two days I think he has a good chance going into the weekend.”
Irish hopes of a home win will now rest on the shoulders of Offaly man Shane Lowry who is just two shots off the lead held by Robert Rock of England and youngster Peter Uihlein of America.
Lowry lives on the Carton House estate and is keen to make a move in Saturday’s third round.
“I’m enjoying this tournament and looking forward to it,” said Lowry, Irish Open winner as an amateur in Baltray four years ago when he beat Rock in a play-off.
No Irish Need Apply? Not anymore