Defending champion Rory McIlroy crashed out of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open on Friday, missing the cut in his home event for the fourth time in five years.

After labouring to an opening 72 on a day when 105 of the 156-strong field broke par, McIlroy could only add a second round of 73 at Portstewart Golf Club for a halfway total of one over par.

The world number four's frustrations boiled over when he slammed his driver onto a tee marker following a poor drive on the seventh, his 16th hole of the day, but it was a clumsy double-bogey six on the next which sealed his fate.

Playing partner Jon Rahm added a 67 to his opening 65 to finish 12 under, a shot behind clubhouse leader Daniel Im after the American also returned a 67.

Speaking to RTÉ Sport, the tournament host said: "After 13 holes I felt I was playing pretty well. I didn’t take the opportunities, I made some of them but at least I was looking like I could make the cut if I could birdie the par-5 coming in.

"The bogey on the par-3 sixth just stopped me in my tracks and not birdying the 7th hole after that was really it, that was my tournament right there.

"If I had birdied the 7th at least I would have had a chance on the last two holes.

"It’s really disappointing. Coming in as defending champion and as host and everything that goes with that, I wanted to put in a good performance this week and I didn’t.


"I just need to spend the weekend trying to sharpen up the short game and get ready for next week in Scotland."

McIlroy refused to blame all the extra work he undertakes as host for his failure to make the cut however.

"It doesn’t let me prepare like I would like to but at the same time I played a lot of golf last week and I felt was ready coming into this week," he said.

"I don’t want to make it into an excuse, I don’t feel it is an excuse. I played well in the pro-am, I played well in practice leading up to this event, I just didn’t put it together."

Also missing the weekend’s action are veteran Irish duo Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley who both finished on +8.

There was better news for Paul Dunne however, who gave himself every chance of attacking the top of the leaderboard at the weekend as his round of 69 left him on -8, just five shots behind the clubhouse leader.