The Open 2016: Rory McIlroy needs 'fast start' to catch Phil Mickelson

By Ben DirsBBC Sport at Royal Troon
Rory McIlroy (left) and Bubba Watson
McIlroy and playing partner Bubba Watson were out in the worst of the conditions on Friday afternoon
The 145th Open Championship
Venue: Royal Troon, Ayrshire, Scotland Dates: 14-17 July
Coverage: Highlights on BBC TV and online, listen live on BBC Radio 5 live and follow live text on the BBC Sport website. Click here for full details
The Open, round two leaderboard
-10 P Mickelson (US); -9 H Stenson (Swe); -7 S Kjeldsen (Den), K Bradley (US); -5 Z Johnson (US)
Selected: -4 A Johnston (Eng), S Garcia (Spa); -3 M Kaymer (Ger), M Kuchar (US); -2 D Johnson (US), R McIlroy (NI); -1 R Fowler (US); Level A Scott (Aus), P Harrington (Ire), J Donaldson (Wal); +1 A Sullivan (Eng), D Clarke (NI), J Day (Aus); +2 L Westwood (Eng); +3 L Donald (Eng), J Rose (Eng); +4 G McDowell (NI), C Montgomerie (Sco), P Lawrie (Sco), J Spieth (US), D Willett (Eng), B Watson (US)

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy has not given up hope of winning his second Open Championship, despite struggling in adverse weather at Royal Troon.

The world number four had a creditable level-par 71 but trails halfway leader Phil Mickelson by eight shots.

Mickelson played his second round in relatively benign conditions to post 10 under before the weather deteriorated on the west coast of Scotland.

"I feel like it's possible but I need a fast start," said McIlroy.

"It depends on what the conditions are like. Depending on what direction the wind comes from, you've seen guys shoot six under par on the front nine.

"But it's the Open Championship - some draws go your way, some draws don't."

McIlroy, 27, won the Open in 2014 but missed last year's tournament because of an ankle injury.

He said: "The last Open I played, I got the good end of the draw and good things happened.

"I'm not going to let being on the wrong side of the draw ruin my week. I feel like I've played really well and that gives me optimism going into the weekend.

"It's the best I've seen Phil play in a long, long time. But I've given people head starts before and been able to win. I'll try to draw on those memories."

However, in 164 starts on the European Tour, McIlroy has never come from a five-shot deficit at halfway to win the tournament.

Rose bows in the wind

Rose throws club after fluffed shot

England's Justin Rose was unable to hide his frustration after a six-over 77 left him only one shot inside the cut line, which fell at four over par.

"I quickly realised that the top of the leaderboard was unattainable," said the 2013 US Open champion.

"Our group were just about making the cut, which tells you how tough it was. It was like we were playing in our own mini tournament."

In fact, only two of Rose's group made the cut - world number three Jordan Spieth finished right on the line but Ireland's Shane Lowry finished seven over, although it was a 78 on Thursday that did the damage.

"I played great," said Lowry. "I was like (wrestler) Hulk Hogan yesterday and (golfing great) Ben Hogan today."

Spieth some way from challenging

Two-time major winner Spieth said Friday's conditions might have been the worst he had played in.

"When I looked up on the 16th I saw sheets of water moving sideways and I can't remember seeing the wind move a ball that much," said the 22-year-old American.

"We might have caught the rough end of the draw. That happens. I tried to smile but you wish your score doesn't matter when you play in weather like this.

"You wish this was just a round with your buddies where you go into the clubhouse and have one or seven pints afterwards. But I certainly can't blame my chances on the draw. My game is not major championship-winning calibre."

Atrocious conditions for late starters

Masters champion Danny Willett holed a 12-foot par putt at the last to sneak into the weekend, also on four over par.

"That's up there with the toughest conditions I've ever played in," said the Englishman, who shot a second-round 75.

"We played almost every hole into the wind as the wind direction switched around the turn. Anyone who's under par on our side of the draw has played some great golf."

World number one Jason Day said he went through four gloves in the space of half an hour, as 40mph gusts howled in off the Firth of Clyde and blew the rain almost horizontal.

"That's by far the worst conditions I've played in, it was atrocious," said the US PGA champion.

"Unfortunately the guys in the morning had the advantage over the first two days, which it totally fine. You get lucky in the Open Championship."

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