"Once I sort of got back into my routine, I was fine", said McIlroy.
"I got on to the first tee (on Sunday) and it was like "Wow, this is pretty cool, it feels like there's a lot of people rooting for me here".
He finally enjoyed some positive impetus on the ninth hole, crushing his drive 376 yards down the ninth fairway, firing his approach to four feet and holing the birdie putt, to partially atone for his earlier misadventures. He stretched out both arms in mock celebration after avoiding only the sixth round without a birdie in his career.
Woods then jokingly said, "I'm on a hot streak right now. And I did that all day and, unfortunately, I didn't make anything until the last hole". "I thought he made some good strokes out there". He was nine shots back after 36 holes but won by four after shooting 66-62 on the weekend. He would shoot another 1 over 72 today to finish his 2 rounds at 2 over which means Lefty will be playing this weekend at Quail Hollow as well.
Among the other notables, Thomas will tee off along with Rickie Fowler and last year's Wells Fargo victor Brian Harman at 12:40 p.m., North Carolina native and former U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson will start at 1:20 while McIlroy (7:30 a.m.) and Phil Mickelson (7:40 a.m.) drew early morning tee times.
Going out as one of the afternoon starters, McIlroy failed to convert from eight feet to save par at the first and dropped another shot at the fifth after being unable to get up-and-down from a bunker.
Asked if he "figured" he needed to make that birdie putt on No. 9 to position himself to make the cut, Woods said, "I figured that it was just outside left". He wound up in the group of five players at 67 that included PGA Tour rookie Keith Mitchell and Tyrrell Hatton. Of course, a victory here would see Woods climb into the top 40 and a solo second could see him close to cracking the top 50.
Also missing the cut were ex-Virginia golfers Denny McCarthy (73) and Steve Marino, who withdrew from the tournament.
Peterson had never led after any round in 89 starts on the PGA Tour, and he didn't seem all that worked up over it. Luckily for this week's field, the course will return to normal tournament conditions this week.
He finished third here in his second appearance in 2006 but has only one other top-10 since and will need to improve on the form he's shown so far this season if he is to be a factor.
Fellow South Koreans Jenny Shin and Sei Young Kim were 4 under through 14 and 12 holes, respectively. I could take it straight from the range onto the golf course this morning. "I told him after he hit his first tee shot, 'Well, you're kind of stuck now'".