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McIlroy blows out at Hong Kong Open

ESPN staff
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Rory McIlroy failed in his defence of his Hong Kong Open title © PA Photos
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Hong Kong Open leaderboard

Rory McIlroy's defence of his Hong Kong Open title ended in abject failure with a missed cut at Fanling.

The world No. 1, crowned winner of the Race to Dubai with two events to spare, opened with a round of 73 and he failed to repair the damage.

McIlroy cited fatigue after his opening round, but it was wayward play that cost him dear in his second round. After starting the day nine off the lead, he made birdies on three of his opening six holes and a further red number got him under par for the tournament.

It looked like McIlroy was set to treat the Hong Kong public to a masterclass but a bogey on his 12th checked his momentum. Three more bogeys followed and with a birdie needed on his final hole to stand any chance of making the weekend, he rolled the dice. It was a gamble that did not pay off as he found trouble and closed with a double-bogey. It resulted in a 72 to leave him at five-over for the tournament.

The 2005 US Open champion Michael Campbell has spent an age in the golfing wilderness, but he is well placed to end a seven-year winless run by taking the lead at the halfway stage.

The New Zealander fired a brilliant 64 to secure a one-shot lead from Lian-wei Zhang, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Fredrik Andersson Hed.

Padraig Harrington failed to make the cut, but he got one of the biggest cheers of the day with a ball-skimming trick. Stuck in the undergrowth, Harrington hit a low fizzer and his ball bounced twice on the surface of a lake before making it to the fringe of the green.

Luke Donald is well placed to claim victory at the Dunlop Phoenix in Japan as he is four shots clear of the field at the halfway stage.

Donald held a share of the lead after 18 holes and he added a bogey-free 64 to his opening 65 to move to 13-under.

Elsewhere, at the SA Open Championship Henrik Stenson had built a four-shot advantage when play was suspended due to electrical storms - although big names including Charl Schwartzel, Martin Kaymer and Branden Grace were all still to finish their second rounds when players were hauled off the course.

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