After hacking out of the woods at the 12th hole Friday, Rory McIlroy’s chances of making the BMW PGA Championship cut looked dire.
He made a bogey-six at the par-5 12th, the easiest hole at Wentworth.
When he stepped onto the 13th tee, McIlroy sat at 1-over par for the championship, two shots outside the cut line.
He needed to make birdies and fast.
McIlroy made a nice par-save from the greenside bunker at the par-4 13th, then two-putted for par on 14.
At the par-4 15th, McIlroy stuffed his second shot to tap-in range as he bounced back from his bogey at the 12th.
Now, the Northern Irishman was at even par, with two par-5s ahead of him over his last three holes.
After McIlroy made another par on 16, he headed over to the dogleg left 610-yard, par-5 17th.
McIlroy, who has struggled at times with his putter this season, faced a four-footer for birdie.
Sitting at even par and with darkness approaching, McIlroy needed a birdie at Wentworth’s final hole, a par-5, to make the weekend.
Anything worse than a four led to a missed cut, meaning he would be the only European Ryder Cupper to miss out on the weekend. All 12 members of the European Ryder Cup team are in the field this week.
Alas, McIlroy smashed his drive at the 18th, one of his best of the day.
He faced 195 yards to the hole for his second shot. The pin sat on the left-hand side of the green, protected by a creek that runs in front of the putting surface.
It was a dangerous shot, especially at dusk, since the players were held up in the morning due to a fog delay.
Yet, McIlroy pulled it off. He stuck his mid-iron onto the right side of the green, where he two-putted for a birdie-four to card a 1-under 71 and make the weekend on the number.
He may not have had his best stuff so far at Wentworth, but he still has his clutch gene. That is a good sign for the Europeans, especially with the Ryder Cup starting in two weeks.
Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko for more golf coverage. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough too.