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Top-ranked McIlroy maintains one-shot PGA Championship lead, Woods misses the cut

Ireland's Rory McIlroy eagled the final hole Friday and emerged with a one-shot lead after two rounds of the PGA Championship at Valhalla (Photo from PGA.com)

Ireland’s Rory McIlroy eagled the final hole Friday and emerged with a one-shot lead after two rounds of the PGA Championship at Valhalla (Photo from PGA.com)


On a soggy day at Valhalla, Rory McIlroy put himself in a familiar position: leading the PGA Championship.

For Tiger Woods, this is also becoming the norm. Another major disappointment.


McIlroy, the overwhelming favorite from Northern Ireland, started on the back nine after a 50-minute rain delay Friday at Valhalla, made a couple of early birdies, then claimed the outright lead for the first time when he rolled in a 30-foot eagle putt at the 18th hole.


McIlroy picked up two more birdies in his final three holes for a 4-under 67, sending him to the clubhouse with a two-stroke lead on Ryan Palmer on a rainy day in Louisville.

At the end of play, Jason Day (65) and Jim Furyk (68) were eight under par, one stroke back of McIlroy. Ricky Fowler (66) joined Palmer at two strokes back while Phil Mickelson eagled the 18th hold to move into position to challenge on the weekend with a 67 which left him at minus six heading into the final 36 holes.

Some of the other top contenders — including Lee Westwood and Kevin Chappell, who were tied with Palmer for the lead after the first round — dropped back. Westwood had a one-over 72 to finish among a large group at five under par while Chappell fired a 74 and is three under par.

Woods also went off late, in 109th place and more concerned about making the cut than getting into contention after opening with a 74.

As he approached the turn, things only got worse.

Woods lipped out a 3-foot birdie attempt at the third, missing a chance to gain some momentum. He followed with a bogey at No. 4, after driving into a fairway bunker, and took a double bogey at the sixth when he drove far left of the fairway and three-putted from 18 feet. Still reeling from that debacle, he yanked his tee shot at the par-5 seventh into a muddy bog, could only pitch up to the fairway, pulled the next shot behind the green, failed to reach the short grass with his chip, and made another bogey.

At that point, he was 4-over for the day, seven-over for the tournament and seemed to have little chance of making the cut. It would be only the fourth time he has failed to make the weekend at a major in his professional career.

Woods had his second straight 74 and headed home after two rounds at six over par.

Kentuckians J.B. Holmes and Kenny Perry both made the cut. Holmes had a 72 Friday and was two under par while Perry, the 54-year-old from Franklin, one under after a 69. Perry has this this is likely his final appearance in the PGA Championship.

McIlroy, unlike Woods, is at the top of his game. He arrived at Valhalla having won his last two tournaments. He captured the British Open at Royal Liverpool with a wire-to-wire performance, and rallied for a victory at Firestone last weekend.

Midway through the final major of the year, he is once again the guy everyone is chasing.

“I’m feeling good about my game. I’m confident. I’m hitting the ball well for the most part,” McIlroy said. “I’m really in control of my game and my emotions. I need to do that over the weekend as well.”

He dropped a shot with a bogey at the 12th, but birdied two of the next three holes. He seized the outright lead for the first time with the long putt at No. 18 and nearly made another eagle at the par-5 seventh. He stuck a shot from 243 yards to 8 feet, but the putt stayed right of the cup.

McIlroy grimaced and rolled back his head. No problem.

He closed with another birdie at the ninth, finishing off his round by curling in a 16-footer that left him at 9-under 133 overall.

Palmer shot 70, staying firmly in the mix at the only major championship that eluded another guy who shared the same name — Arnold Palmer.

“I’m glad to shoot under par,” he said. “That’s all I could ask for today. We’ll go hang out at the house and see where we stand at the end of the day.”

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McIlroy is going for his fourth major title at age 25, having already won the PGA Championship at Kiawah in 2012.

Steve Stricker — a 47-year-old, part-time player who was picked as an assistant U.S. Ryder Cup captain this week — showed he’s still got plenty of game. He made four birdies on his first nine holes, giving him a share of the lead until McIlroy claimed it for himself.

His 68 left him four shots off the lead on what was shaping up to be a long day.

Also at 5 under were Graham DeLaet (68) and Henrik Stenson (71).

From PGA.com

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