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Memorial meltdown earns McIlroy third missed cut

Just two days after jesting that "two-day weeks" were not good for him, U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy missed his third successive cut worldwide at the Memorial tournament on Friday.

The world number two battled to a seven-over-par 79 in cold, wet and windy conditions at Muirfield Village Golf Club, finishing well down the second-round leaderboard at six-over 150.

McIlroy failed to record a single birdie and wound up with two double-bogeys, one at the par-five 11th where he remarkably hit a shot backwards into water and another at the 14th, where he drove into water.

The 23-year-old covered the back nine in five-over 41 to miss the cut by three shots.

"I got off to a decent start and had a couple opportunities there early for birdies and didn't take them," McIlroy told reporters after also recording three bogeys in the second round.

"I hit some good shots, it just seems like every time I go out there I make one or two big numbers and that sort of throws me, a couple of doubles on the back nine.

"Those big numbers are killing me. I just need to get those off the card and I'll be okay."

McIlroy had previously missed the cut at the PGA Tour's elite Players Championship earlier this month and then failed to advance at the European Tour's flagship PGA Championship in Wentworth, England, last week.

"I don't feel like the scores are actually reflecting how I'm hitting the ball," said the mop-haired Northern Irishman, who won his third PGA Tour title at the Honda Classic in March.

"I was able to string nine good holes together yesterday. I just need to keep working on it and try and string 18 good holes together.

"I'm definitely hitting the ball better than I did last week, so I can see an improvement there, but I've still got a long way to go."

On Wednesday, a grinning McIlroy had told reporters: "These two-day weeks aren't really that good for me, so I just want to get some competitive rounds in.

"I'm working on a few things, and I feel trying to put them into competition will be the best way for me to prepare going into the U.S. Open."

With his U.S. Open title defense set to start at the Olympic Club outside San Francisco on June 14, McIlroy has added next week's St. Jude Championship to his playing schedule in a bid to sharpen his game for the year's second major.

(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Dublin, Ohio; Editing by Frank Pingue and Nick Mulvenney)