by Jeff Skinner
Rory McIlroy has gone where no man had gone before. He set a U.S. Open record when he birdied the seventeenth to go to an unbelievable thirteen under par. McIlroy had played flawless golf up to that point and was hitting fairways and greens like Congressional was a pitch and putt course. He came to the eighteenth riding a wave of momentum that had separated him from the field by eight strokes. But a poor approach to the green landed in the pond and he lost two strokes to par with a double bogey. It was his first hole above par for the tournament. Even with the misstep at eighteen he still set another record, for the lowest 36 hole score in U.S. Open history.
His playing partners were in awe of the twenty two year old Irishman. Phil Mickelson had an up close view of McIlroy all day “He’s striking it flawlessly,” Mickelson said. “His first two rounds were very impressive.” Brandt Snedeker says it’s Rory’s tournament to lose, “If he keeps playing the way he’s playing we’re all playing for second place,” Snedeker said. “… I personally won’t look at the leaderboard all weekend because there’s no point. Just try to shoot as good as I can and find out how it stacks up.”
We have to hope that Rory plays well over the next two rounds. If he is to lose this U.S. Open let it be because of two great rounds from another player and not because of another blown major by Rory. He had the Claret Jug in his hands. He had one arm in the green jacket. Now he is 36 holes from the biggest moment of his young career. I can’t imagine the weight of another meltdown on those young shoulders.
That’s why we have to hope Rory plays good golf. He doesn’t have to keep up this torrid pace, but a few strokes under par would suffice. If someone else comes out of the pack and sets another record for the last 36 holes that’s fine, as long as Rory does not self destruct.
I’m rooting for the rosy cheeked lad that plays golf like there is no tomorrow. I’m hoping it’s his time, time to put those past major mistakes behind him and win his first major in historic style.