Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry face uphill moving day tasks to ensure they play themselves into contention over the weekend at the PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park.
McIlroy heads the chasing pack from an Irish perspective after adding a 69 to his opening 70 to reach one-under par and trail the lead by seven at the halfway stage.
It was looking so good for the Holywood star who made four straight birdies from the 7th hole to reach three-under par but any McIlroy momentum was halted by a disastrous triple-bogey seven at the 12th where he three-putted from 7 feet before signing for a bitter tasting one-under par round of 69.
“I got off to the perfect start birdieing the first hole, and I hit some loose shots after that on 3, on 4, on 5, a bad drive,” McIlroy reflected. “I think what turned it around, I hit a good drive on 7 and made birdie from there, and then made birdie on 8 and 9, the two toughest holes on the course. That gave me a nice little bit of momentum going into the back nine.
“Then, you know, played the 10th hole well, and was feeling good, 3-under through 11, and then that 7 just sort of stopped me in my tracks a bit. From there, when you’re 3-under par, especially with the way the leaderboard is looking, you’re thinking, okay, get another couple and you’re right into this tournament going into the weekend and all of a sudden you make triple and you’re like, I just need to be here for the weekend. It went from thinking I’m right on the cusp of getting into contention to just making the cut.
“I was happy how I responded after that 7 and made a birdie coming in and played pretty solid, and that’s all I could really ask of myself after that.”
Shane Lowry is a shot further back at even after a frustrating two-over par 72. Lowry was another cruising along nicely at four-under for the tournament before five bogeys in six holes from his eighth meant the Clara man now trails China star Haotong Li atop the board at eight-under par.
Sadly Graeme McDowell’s indifferent run in the PGA Championship continued with the Irishman missing the TPC Harding Park halfway cut mark.
McDowell, contesting his 15th PGA Championship since making his debut in 2004 at Whistling Straits, posted scores of 72 and a disappointing second round 74 for a shock six-over par total.
GMac is now 7 and 8 at the PGA Championship having made the cut on just seven occasion with his best finish a distant memory in finishing T11th behind Rory McIlroy in 2012 at Kiawah Island.
McDowell, starting his round from the 10th hole. was just a shot outside the expected cut-off mark heading to the 18th after two birdies and just as many bogeys.
His tee-shot at 18, or the ninth hole of his round, found heavy rough before managing to advance his ball around 100-yards and in finding the green in three, McDowell horribly three-putted from 12-feet for a double-bogey ‘6’.
Bogeys then followed at the next two holes for McDowell to drop some 50 spots to well down the board in the 156-player field.
It is McDowell’s poorest opening two rounds at the PGA Championship since a run of missed cuts from 2015 to 2017 inclusive when he missed the cut with respective 36-hole totals of five, nine and seven over par.
McDowell was wasting little time finding his way to San Francisco Airport and bound for Orlando.
Fortunately, he’s projected to only drop three places to 109th on the FedEx Cup standings with the top-125 players at the close of next week’s Wyndham Championship, the final event of qualifying, to gain entry into the August 20th commencing Northern Trust outside of Boston.
Full scoring HERE