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McIlroy blames fatigue, putting

Rory McIlroy

World Number One golfer Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland tees off during the second day of the UBS Hong Kong Open at the Hong Kong Golf Club. McIlroy’s bid to become the first man in half a century to retain the $2 million UBS Hong Kong Open came to an embarrassing end as the world number one crashed out with a double-bogey.

HONG KONG - World number one Rory McIlroy said he needed to rest and do some work on his putting after he crashed out of the $2 million UBS Hong Kong Open on Friday, failing to make the cut.

The 23-year-old from Northern Ireland shot a disastrous two-over-par 72 in the second round that included a double-bogey on his final hole, ending his title defence in embarrassing failure.

McIlroy, whose third-placed finish in Singapore last week saw him top the money lists on both sides of the Atlantic, also made four bogeys to go five-over for the tournament, missing the cut by three shots.

Describing his last-hole meltdown, he said: “I hit it a few feet by and then really knew that the second putt was the make-or-break putt.

“I lost concentration on the third, and missed that. So, obviously not the week I wanted. I’ve got a few days to work on a few things.”

The European Tour season ends next week with the lucrative DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. The starlet has already sealed the Race to Dubai after a hugely successful year but he had hoped to retain his Hong Kong crown.

He admitted to fatigue after his first-round 73 on Thursday and said after his title defence went up in smoke that he was looking forward to some time to rest.

“I always enjoy coming back here, it’s just a pity that this year had to end like that,” said McIlroy, who audibly groaned when his approach shot went wayward on the fifth hole, to gasps from the large watching crowd.

He bogeyed that hole, and two of the next three, before his double-bogey at the last.

He had birdied three of his first six holes, suggesting he was on the charge.

Michael Campbell

Michael Campbell of New Zealand lines up a putt during the second day of the UBS Hong Kong Open at the Hong Kong Golf Club. Rory McIlroy’s bid to become the first man in half a century to retain the $2 million UBS Hong Kong Open came to an embarrassing end as the world number one crashed out with a double-bogey.

“The wind was tricky. It definitely made play a little trickier. I didn’t putt very well in Singapore last week. This week was the same, so a bit of putting practice is required in Dubai,” he said.

“If I was completely fresh I wouldn’t have been making the mistakes I was making. I’ve got a couple of days to rest and then get ready for Dubai.

“I got off to a great start. I was minus-four for the first 10 holes or whatever and had a chance to go to minus-five and then I just started going the other way.”

Kiwi Michael Campbell was the outright leader at the halfway stage after he blasted his way to a 64 to go nine-under-par 131.

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