Masters champion Danny Willett is set to head into the Open Championship on the back of a second consecutive missed cut after his recent struggles continued in the French Open.
Willett could only add a second round of 72 to his opening 75 at Le Golf National to finish five over par, three shots outside the projected cut at the 2018 Ryder Cup venue.
The world number nine finished third in the BMW PGA Championship at the end of May, but smashed the putter he used at Augusta in frustration during the US Open and missed the cut in the BMW International Open in Germany last week.
“The last three weeks we’ve putted as bad as we ever have and things haven’t quite gone our way,” the 28-year-old from Sheffield said. “When you keep shooting the worst score you can it’s a tricky game.
“Just not done anything very well really. Missed a lot of putts, couple of bad shots that cost us and just one of those days again. S*** couple of weeks. Missed by one last week, probably going to miss by one or two this week - it’s not like you are shooting 85 all the time.
“It’s fine margins and unfortunately we were on the wrong side of them.
“On the last (the par-five ninth) you pitch on the green, end up six yards away and take three to get down.
“That’s how it’s been the first two days. You just have to keep working like you always do. Nothing else you can do.”
The last time Willett missed two cuts in a row was coincidentally in the US Open and French Open last year.
However, he then bounced back to finish sixth in the Open at St Andrews a fortnight later.
Playing partner Lee Westwood, who finished second behind Willett in the Masters, looked to have safely made the weekend on two over par after a second round of 70 which featured a hat-trick of birdies from the second.
At the top of the leaderboard, Finland’s Mikko Ilonen and Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee shared the clubhouse lead on five under after rounds of 68 and 70 respectively, with defending champion Bernd Wiesberger, Nicolas Colsaerts and Anders Hansen a shot further back.
Wiesberger held a four-shot lead when he reached nine under par thanks to five birdies in his first eight holes, but then ran up a triple bogey on the treacherous 18th and also dropped shots on his last two holes to card a 71.
Hansen, a two-time winner of the BMW PGA Championship, announced his retirement at the end of last season but returned to action in the BMW International Open last week.
“I did retire and I’m going back into retirement after this week,” the 45-year-old Dane said. “I just came out to play four events. I need to play five to keep my status (as a European Tour member) and this week counts for two, so that’s perfect.
“The thing about life, you make a decision and you never know whether it’s going to stay that way. That’s life. You never know what’s going to happen.
“I never expected this, seriously. Never, never. I was really happy if I could make the cut. I thought that was quite an achievement and when I came down 15 and saw my name on the leaderboard I was laughing a bit. I thought ‘This is just stupid’.
“Maybe I’m just more relaxed about the whole thing because it doesn’t really matter, because I know the tournaments I’m going to play and I’m not going to change anything. Obviously you want to play well and if you get a chance you want to win. But there’s still a long way to go. These tournaments are 72 holes, not just 36.”