Rory McIlroy’s first real chance of a birdie came at the par-four fifth where he covered most of the hole’s 419 yards with a drive that came up just 25 yards short of the centre of the green. He pitched to seven feet — and missed. Playing partner Rickie Fowler, in white and pink waterproofs, is faring much better. He has redeemed a dropped shot at the second with a birdie at the fifth and after six holes he has the best score on the course at even par.
Two holes later McIlroy pitched on to the seventh green from the left and holed a four-foot putt for a welcome birdie that brought today’s score back to one over par.
Tom Watson’s superb one-under-par front nine has been marred with dropped shots at the 11th and 12th. Two steady pars have followed as he enters the treacherous closing stretch.
Of today’s field of 71 players, 55 are on the course or have completed their rounds and there is not one score under par.