McIlroy narrowly misses cut after Open comeback

McIlroy's comeback fell agonisingly short. Credit: INPHO

Rory McIlroy staged a remarkable comeback but couldn’t avoid missing the cut after the second round of The Open in Portrush.

The Holywood golfer was faced with an almost impossible task coming into Friday on eight shots over, but put in a much-improved performance to give himself a chance.

McIlroy made birdies on holes three and four, before putting together an incredible run of birdies between holes 10 to 12 to move within touching distance of the cut.

He dropped one shot on the 13th hole but recovered it immediately on 14 and racked up another birdie on 16 to leave him needing just one more from the final two holes.

The crowd applauded McIlroy at the 18th. Credit: INPHO

McIlroy's birdie attempt on the 17th never threatened the hole and left him needing to make a three on the last, but after splitting the fairway the 30-year-old pulled his approach left of the green.

From there he chipped to five feet and holed out for par before receiving a standing ovation from the partisan crowd.

It left McIlroy on two over after a round of 65, agonisingly missing the cut by one stroke.

Shane Lowry in action. Credit: INPHO

Shane Lowry takes a share of the lead into round three at Royal Portrush, after carding a second consecutive 67 to finish eight shots under.

The Irishman had stormed into a two-shot lead with six birdies in the first 10 holes, before dropping shots on 14 and 18 to finish the day level with American JB Holmes at the top of the leaderboard.

"I had a great time today, it was just unbelievable,” Lowry said. “One of those days where you find yourself pinching yourself.”

Graeme McDowell survived the cut on +1 while Darren Clarke’s tournament ended as he finished three shots over.

Tiger Woods also missed the cut on +6.

Tiger Woods in action. Credit: Pacemaker

Record-breaking crowds have been enjoying the golf at Royal Portrush this week, as The Open returned to the North Coast for the first time since 1951.

The 148th Open has exceeded expectation to become the second largest championship ever, with some 237,750 people turning out to watch the top golfers compete for the Claret Jug.