By Brian Keogh
Rory McIlroy. Photo by Golffile
Rory McIlroy admits his swing is a work in progress but he was pleased to follow an opening 73 with a 69 that still left him 12 strokes adrift of Xander Schauffle in the CJ Cup at Shadow Creek.
After hitting just four fairways and only nine greens in regulation on day one, the world No 4 found eight fairways and 13 greens to move up 11 spots to tied 26th in two-under as Schauffele added a 64 to his opening 66 to lead by three strokes from Tyrrell Hatton on 14-under.
“Better, much better,” McIlroy said of his second round. “You know, it's hard, I've spent sort of the last two weeks working on my golf swing and I've maybe played a total of nine holes. I've just spent that time on the range.
“Then trying to go from the range, where every swing that you're making with a thought or two or three, to on the golf course, where if you have one, that's enough. Caught myself a few times yesterday, too many thoughts out there and not really freeing myself up. Today, did a better job of that. Mentally freed myself up, didn't worry too much, didn't try to be too perfect and hit some really good shots. Yeah, it was better.”
Hopeful he can improve before next week’s ZOZO Championship at Sherwood Country Club in Los Angeles, which will be his final event before the Masters, he added: “As I said, I did a better job of it today. I did it last year. I remember going into Memorial after working on my swing a lot, missed the cut, too many thoughts, worked on some stuff over the weekend and I went to Canada the next week and won by seven.
“It's just about doing the work, but then almost forgetting the work when you get out on the course and just let yourself be a little more athletic.”
McIlroy spent some time during his recent three week break to add speed to his swing and also gone to a lighter shaft to keep the club in front of him.
“I think that's why sometimes when you see guys trying to make like a major swing change, that it's a struggle, right? It's a struggle. You're thinking so much about what you're trying to do in your golf swing rather than where you're really trying to hit the ball. I played a little too much golf swing yesterday and today I just sort of tried to see my shots more and visualize a little more and it was better.
“I guess my goal is to get on that first tee and almost have a little bit of amnesia and forget about what I've just done. If I can do that for the next two days, that will be a good goal.
“Twelve back going into the weekend, it's going to take something very special to catch up to Xander. But if I play well, I can post a good finish and give myself some confidence going into Sherwood.”
Shane Lowry also found the going tough in Las Vegas, adding a 74 to his opening 72 to lie joint 52nd on two-over.
The Offaly man made four birdies but also three bogeys and a double bogey, leaving him 51st for strokes gained tee to green