Local hero Rory McIlroy fell just short in a thrilling bid to make the cut at the British Open in Northern Ireland on Friday, despite firing a six-under-par second round of 65.
A disastrous eight-over 79 in the opening round left McIlroy facing a mountainous task to reach the weekend, but with the cut line at one-over, the pre-tournament favourite finished only a shot away on plus two.
"If I look back at this week what I'm really going to rue is playing the last three in five-over yesterday, because even with a couple of bogeys, with what I did today it would have been enough," McIlroy told Golf Channel.
Five back-nine birdies left the 30-year-old only needing one more in the final two holes, but he narrowly missed a birdie putt on the 17th hole before sending his approach shot left of the final green.
The last player to make the cut after being tied-150th or worse after the first round was Jack Nicklaus in 1995, and the vast numbers of home fans following McIlroy quickly believed it was possible when he birdied the third.
Holes appeared to be running out when he made the turn still at six-over for the championship, but a run of three straight birdies from the 10th kept the dream alive.
A bogey at 13 was followed by his seventh birdie in the round on the 14th, and despite a fantastic iron shot which picked up another stroke on 16, the joint-best round of the day was not enough.
Earlier on Friday, 15-time major winner Tiger Woods also missed the cut on six-over par, while Northern Ireland's 2011 champion Darren Clarke made an agonising triple-bogey on the 18th to finish three-over.