By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
NORTON, Mass. -- A year ago, Rory McIlroy was 12 under and in control of the Deutsche Bank Championship.
Saturday, he was hoping just to see the third round.
McIlroy stumbled to the finish, making double bogey on the par-5 18th after hitting his second shot into the hazard. He finished with an even-par 71 and had to sweat it out to see if he would make the cut. He made it on the number.
The former world No. 1 arrived here confident, and through his first two rounds made his share of birdies. But every birdie seemed to be undone by an unforced error.
Saturday wasn't much different.
McIlroy missed an 8-footer for par on the par-4 fifth, then left his tee shot short and right of the green on the par-3 11th, where he again failed to get up-and-down.
On the 18th, he tried to reach the green with a 4-iron from 240 yards only to find the hazard that fronts the green.
"I thought I could carry the water," a frustrated McIlroy said afterward. "It didn't come off the way I wanted it to."
Last year at this time, everything seemed to go McIlroy's way.
He won four times on the PGA TOUR along, including here, and went on to be named Player of the Year.
A change in equipment and a number of off the course distractions this year have hindered McIlroy, however.
Still, he began to show progress, albeit slowly.
A week after walking off the golf course midway through a poor second round at The Honda Classic, McIlroy finished eighth at Doral.
A month later, he nearly won in San Antonio, shooting a final-round 66 to finish second. He added top 10s at Quail Hollow and at THE PLAYERS Championship and also finished in the top 10 at Oak Hill after nearly missing the cut at the year's final major.
At last week's Playoffs event in New Jersey, he shot a second-round 65 to move into contention before fading on the weekend.
At TPC Boston, though, he hasn't been able to get any momentum. Through his first two rounds, he has nearly as many bogeys or worse (eight) as he does birdies (10).
"It feels like I can't get anywhere away from even par," McIlroy said. "I'm getting a little frustrated and impatient because of that."