The Loop

Rory McIlroy tweaks back, has roller coaster round that includes an 8-under stretch over 8 holes

January 13, 2017

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Rory McIlroy began his week in South Africa watching a lion charge right by him. On Friday, it was the four-time major champ's turn to do the charging.

During the middle of his second round at the BMW South African Open, McIlroy shot eight under during an eight-hole span. That stretch included eight consecutive one putts with the Odyssey putter he recently changed to.

Here are some of the highlights. First, an eagle on No. 8 that kickstarted Rory's run:

Then this medium-range birdie make on No. 13:

And another one on the following hole:

Yeah. . . so far, so good with that equipment switch.

The European Tour event is McIlroy's first tournament of 2017. McIlroy made the tour even happier by committing to the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in May.

Unfortunately for McIlroy, though, it wasn't all good on Friday. He bogeyed the par-5 second hole at Glendower GC and doubled the par-4 fourth. And following his red-hot stretch on holes 8-15, McIlroy closed with consecutive bogeys on 17 and 18 to fall three shots behind leader Graeme Storm, who shot 63 to finish at 12 under through 36 holes in the European Tour event. American Peter Uihlein, the 2010 U.S. Amateur champ, is currently tied for second, two shots back.

Afterward, we found out Rory McIlroy's wild round almost never happened.

"I thought about pulling out before teeing off today," McIlroy told reporters in South Africa. "I tweaked my back somehow and the first few shots today weren’t very comfortable."

You know what helps a bad back? Making a lot of putts to cut down on the amount of times you have to bend over to mark your ball on the green.