Tiger Woods remained an also-ran at the BMW Championship in Chicago today – and Rory McIlroy was still one of the back-markers.
Fighting to stay alive in the FedEx Cup play-off series – he probably needs a top five finish for that – Woods flattered to deceive with two birdies early in his second round.
Two bogeys and then a double bogey followed before the world number one’s closing birdie on the long ninth gave him a one over par 72 to go with his opening 73.
At three over Woods was just inside the top 50 in the 70-strong field – and 10 strokes adrift of fellow American Matt Kuchar, who had only just teed off again.
McIlroy, meanwhile, improved only two shots on his first day 76 to find himself down in 66th spot on eight over.
With no halfway cut the 21-year-old Ulsterman still has time to recover and be among the 30 qualifiers for the Tour Championship in Atlanta in two weeks, but his Ryder Cup debut comes straight after that and his form is starting to be a worry.
Paul Casey is playing much better – but he, of course, was not given a wild card for Celtic Manor by European captain Colin Montgomerie.
Casey, the world number nine, posted another 69 and joined Ian Poulter in joint third place on four under, three behind Kuchar.
Poulter was hoping for better than that when he stood on the 14th tee six under, but he failed to get up and down from a bunker there and a drive into more sand at the last cost him another shot.
Casey, in contrast, played the same five-hole stretch in two under. He made his four from the greenside trap at the long 15th and holed from 10 feet at the next.
“It’s done and dusted,” he said of the Ryder Cup omission. “You’ve got to get over things pretty quickly – I got over it pretty quickly.”
Asked about fan reaction Casey recalled what a spectator in Boston said last week after he made a long putt for birdie – “If that’s the way you putt, I’m glad they didn’t pick you!”
Luke Donald, preferred by Montgomerie, was also four under after three holes of his second round, while Justin Rose was just one further back at the same point.
Poulter commented: “I’m never pleased if I’m shooting over par when I feel like I should be shooting under par.
“I should have been three or four shots better if I’m honest.”
Woods’ double bogey came at the 509-yard par four fifth, where he only just got out of a bunker, while McIlroy failed to build on the promise of three birdies in his first five holes.
At the 15th, his sixth, he ran up a double bogey seven after hitting his second into the trees. Then came three bogeys in his next five holes and another double on the 446-yard third, where he had to take a penalty drop in the trees.