IRISH OPEN: Miserable day for defending champion Rory McIlroy at Portstewart

Defending champion Rory McIlroy crashed out of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open on Friday, missing the cut in his home event for the fourth time in five years.

After labouring to an opening 72 on a day when 105 of the 156-strong field broke par, McIlroy could only add a second round of 73 at Portstewart Golf Club for a halfway total of one over par.

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland on the 17th green during Day 2 of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Golf Championship at Portstewart Golf Club

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland on the 17th green during Day 2 of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Golf Championship at Portstewart Golf Club

The world number four’s frustrations boiled over when he slammed his driver onto a tee marker following a poor drive on the seventh, his 16th hole of the day, but it was a clumsy double-bogey six on the next which sealed his fate.

Playing partner Jon Rahm added a 67 to his opening 65 to finish 12 under, a shot behind clubhouse leader Daniel Im after the American also returned a 67.

“I felt like I was battling well, two under through 13 and with another par five coming up, and to bogey the sixth took the wind out of my sails,” McIlroy said.

“And to not birdie the seventh was the final nail in the coffin.

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland on the 17th hole during Day 2 of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Golf Championship at Portstewart Golf Club

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland on the 17th hole during Day 2 of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Golf Championship at Portstewart Golf Club

“It’s disappointing because I felt like I was playing well coming into the week and I need to do some practice over the weekend and get ready for next week.

“My short game is not sharp enough and I’m making silly mistakes. I’m not being very proficient with my scoring and making it difficult for myself.”

McIlroy admitted being the tournament host did not allow him to prepare as he usually would, but added: “I don’t want to make it an excuse because I played a lot of golf last week, I played well in the pro-am and I just did not get it together.

“Even being busy on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, I should be shooting two scores in the 60s with the conditions the way they were.”

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland reacts after his shot to the 2nd green during Day 2 of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Golf Championship

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland reacts after his shot to the 2nd green during Day 2 of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Golf Championship