Momentum can be a fickle beast. Just when you think you have it all figured out, it disappears when you least expect it, leaving you brokenhearted and sitting on the side of the road wondering where it all went wrong.
Rory McIlroy knows the feeling. Earlier this year he had everything under control, after he opened the season with a runner-up finish at the WGC-Accenture Match Play before picking up a win at the Honda Classic that saw him vault to the top spot in the world for the first time in his young career.
Everything seemed to be falling into place for the 23-year-old. He had the tennis star girlfriend, the No. 1 ranking, and an eight-shot win at the U.S. Open in his back pocket. McIlroy was going places in a hurry. But as quickly as the momentum came in like the tide, it disappeared a month later at the Masters.
McIlroy went from contending on a weekly basis to missing three straight cuts; he even missed out on the weekend at the U.S. Open. For whatever reason the momentum was gone, and for a while it looked like it may never come back.
However, five months later it finally made an appearance at the Bridgestone, where McIlroy finished T-5. And since that week in Akron it's been with McIlroy ever since -- including during his eight-shot win at the PGA Championship.
And following his second straight 65 at the Deutsche Bank Championship, it doesn't appear to be going away anytime soon. Less than 24 hours after McIlroy fired 65 by hitting only four fairways, he followed the impressive scrambling performance up with a putting clinic that included an eagle and six birdies and has him at 12-under for the tournament, two shots clear of the field.
With the afternoon wave on the course someone could catch McIlroy before the day is over, but the way he's playing at this very moment, it's hard to imagine anyone challenging him if he maintains his current play over the next 36 holes.
For only the second time in his career, McIlroy opened a tournament with 66 or lower over the first two rounds. It may not seem like a big deal ... until you realize the last time he accomplished the feat was at the 2011 U.S. Open -- where he ended up winning by eight shots.
Will see another rout this week? That remains unclear. What is clear at this point, however, is that momentum is officially back in McIlroy's corner.
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