ABERDEEN, Scotland — The Friday frustrations continued for Rory McIlroy in Scotland, where for a mind-numbing seventh time in 2014 he failed to break 40 for nine holes.
The first-round leader at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open tumbled down the leaderboard with a second-round 78 at Royal Aberdeen, including a back-nine 40.
Worldwide, McIlroy has played his first rounds in 51 under par this year, but 9 over in the second round.
“It’s always sort of being brought up, it’s on your mind. Maybe put myself under even more pressure to get off to a decent start and shoot a good score,” said McIlroy, who then quipped. “Another Friday out of the way, thank God.”
For the second time this year, McIlroy followed a round of 64 or better with a 78. He shot 63 during the first round at the Memorial and then had 78. His first-round scoring average this year is 68.15 but just 72.23 on Fridays.
Among the places where McIlroy has shot 40 or more for 9 holes were Doral, Augusta National, Quail Hollow, TPC Sawgrass and Muirfield Village.
“I’d be much happier standing here after a couple of 71s [even par], but that’s not the case,” McIlroy said. “It hasn’t been the case all year. I get off to a good start and then I just fall away. But I’m still in the tournament and I can go out in the morning and try and get a few of those shots back that I lost today.
“I need to try and hold it together somewhat. I’m still in the golf tournament and I need to try and make some birdies early and get back in it.”
McIlroy dropped to even-par 142, six strokes behind tournament leaders Marc Warren, Kristoffer Broberg and Ricardo Gonzalez and into a tie for 34th. He had just one birdie with six birdies and a double bogey. He also needed 35 putts.
He was not alone in his frustration. Defending champion Phil Mickelson shot 73 to drop to 1 under and seven strokes back.
“It was tough,” Mickelson said. “But it was fun to have these conditions. You have to try different shots. I thought I actually played pretty well but you make one bad swing and you are going to pay a penalty. And I made a couple of those. You really have to focus on each shot.
“I’m a little concerned about having to expend a lot of energy with the Open [Championship] coming up. But it’s also good preparation.”
McIlroy concurred, and hopes to get back on track Saturday with the Open Championship looming at Royal Liverpool next week.
“It’s a grind out there but at the end of the day it’s a great way to prepare for next week,” McIlroy said. “But I don’t want to just prepare for next week.. I want to try and get myself back into this golf tournament and win. I’m playing well enough. There are signs my game is there but I need to tidy up a few bits and pieces.”