McIlroy wows Wentworth crowds to storm into halfway lead

by | May 25, 2018 | 0 comments

Bernie McGuire

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Rory McIlroy delighted the huge Wentworth Club crowds with the best round of the second day at the BMW PGA Championship, storming into a three-shot halfway lead as the Northern Irishman targets a maiden Rolex Series victory over the weekend.

The four-time Major winner displayed the kind of imperious form which earned him the title at the prestigious Surrey venue back in 2014 with a flawless seven under 65, which included a run of four consecutive birdies on the back nine.

His 12 under par total of 132 strokes ties the second-lowest 36-hole score in the tournament’s long history and sets up what is sure to be an enthralling weekend of action on the picturesque West Course.

“I played really well, to go bogey-free around here – I think I only missed one green, and not by a lot.” Said McIlroy after his round.  “It was one of the best rounds of golf I’ve played this year, ball-striking-wise. There were still a couple of loose shots in there, like the one on 18, but overall it was a great round of golf.

“I had everything firing today and it was nice to take advantage of the opportunities I gave myself. It’s nice to live up to the billing I guess a little bit. I really enjoy playing in front of these crowds. They are incredible to get up on a Friday morning at eight in the morning and come out and follow us.

“It was a really great atmosphere out there. Being in the final group tomorrow, most likely, that atmosphere will be around the group again and I’m looking forward to that.”

Graeme McDowell, who was earlier in the week announced as a Ryder Cup Vice-Captain to Thomas Bjørn – carded his best round on the European Tour since last November with a five under par 67 to move into a share of ninth place alongside nine others including eight-time European Tour winner Branden Grace of South Africa and the first round leader Lucas Bjerregaard of Denmark.

“I think under normal circumstances, if I had not been announced as Vice Captain this week and obviously being asked to perform in front of The Ryder Cup Captain for a guy who needs to play well this summer, I think the pressure would have been on me.” Said McDowell

“But it’s slightly different kind of vibe I suppose, feeling like I am part of the team, and I really feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders a little bit which is allowing me to go out there and enjoy my golf at Wentworth.

“I’m feeling very comfortable out there, and I’m looking forward to being in the mix coming into the weekend. This is always a fun event and the golf course is in as good a shape as I’ve ever seen it. When Rory is on his game, he’s incredibly tough to catch. I know he likes it around here and these are perfect conditions for him.”

Shane Lowry carded a second round 71 to sit eight shots back from McIlroy in a tie for 30th heading into the weekend while Paul Dunne and Padraig Harrington missed the halfway cut.

The reigning Race to Dubai Champion Tommy Fleetwood is in close pursuit in third position on eight under par after birdieing the final three holes in a round of 66.

Fleetwood’s fellow Englishman, Sam Horsfield, was three shots back on nine under par after the 21 year old carded a four under par 68 to earn a place in the final group alongside McIlroy. Tied for second alongside Horsfield was Frenchman Sébastien Gros, who carded a six under 66 in the final group of the day following an up-and-down from a fairway bunker for a closing birdie.

Scores:
132 R McIlroy (Nir) 67 65,
135 S Gros (Fra) 69 66, S Horsfield (Eng) 67 68,
136 T Fleetwood (Eng) 70 66,
137 R Rock (Eng) 69 68, A Noren (Swe) 69 68, K Aphibarnrat (Tha) 68 69, F Molinari (Ita) 70 67,
138 A Levy (Fra) 70 68, M Korhonen (Fin) 68 70, L Jensen (Den) 68 70, F Zanotti (Par) 69 69, L Bjerregaard (Den) 65 73, D Fichardt (RSA) 66 72, N Bertasio (Ita) 68 70, G McDowell (Nir) 71 67, M Fitzpatrick (Eng) 67 71, B Grace (RSA) 69 69,
139 M Pavon (Fra) 72 67, L Westwood (Eng) 70 69, J Heath (Eng) 72 67, D Burmester (RSA) 66 73, H Li (Chn) 73 66, T Olesen (Den) 69 70, T Immelman (RSA) 71 68, A Sullivan (Eng) 71 68, E Van Rooyen (RSA) 70 69, R Fisher (Eng) 71 68, B Hebert (Fra) 70 69,
140 S Gallacher (Sco) 71 69, C Wood (Eng) 72 68, R Ramsay (Sco) 69 71, S Lowry (Irl) 69 71, R Cabrera Bello (Esp) 72 68, B Neil (Sco) 71 69, M Kieffer (Ger) 69 71, E Pepperell (Eng) 72 68, A Saddier (Fra) 70 70,
141 M Kinhult (Swe) 74 67, P Waring (Eng) 73 68, M Manassero (Ita) 75 66, I Poulter (Eng) 74 67, H Tanihara (Jpn) 69 72, J Suri (USA) 74 67, M Southgate (Eng) 69 72, T Jaidee (Tha) 69 72, A Björk (Swe) 71 70, M Wallace (Eng) 72 69,
142 R Cho (Kor) 74 68, B An (Kor) 74 68, D Lipsky (USA) 70 72, R Bland (Eng) 67 75, M Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 72 70, G Green (Mas) 72 70, P Casey (Eng) 72 70,
143 B Stone (RSA) 73 70, A Wu (Chn) 72 71, J Kruyswijk (RSA) 73 70, S Fernandez (Esp) 74 69, R Fox (Nzl) 70 73, D Brooks (Eng) 70 73, J Wang (Kor) 74 69, J Dantorp (Swe) 74 69, T Detry (Bel) 72 71, A Pavan (Ita) 73 70, M Warren (Sco) 71 72, H Porteous (RSA) 74 69, A Dodt (Aus) 70 73,

CUT
144 H Varner Iii (USA) 75 69, M Kaymer (Ger) 70 74, C Hanson (Eng) 74 70, D Frittelli (RSA) 71 73, J Winther (Den) 74 70, J Luiten (Ned) 73 71, R Jacquelin (Fra) 76 68, T Aiken (RSA) 72 72, O Fisher (Eng) 75 69, B Dredge (Wal) 68 76, O Farr (Wal) 73 71, J Lagergren (Swe) 72 72, R Sterne (RSA) 76 68, G Bourdy (Fra) 75 69,
145 G Coetzee (RSA) 75 70, B Rumford (Aus) 75 70, N Elvira (Esp) 75 70, C Paisley (Eng) 68 77, S Kjeldsen (Den) 76 69, D Drysdale (Sco) 74 71, A Quiros (Esp) 71 74, J Choi (Kor) 73 72, M Ilonen (Fin) 71 74, C Ford (Eng) 69 76, R Evans (Eng) 76 69, G Fernandez – Castaño (Esp) 69 76, D Howell (Eng) 73 72,
146 D Horsey (Eng) 73 73, T Hatton (Eng) 73 73, J Campillo (Esp) 72 74, A Romero (Arg) 73 73, D Willett (Eng) 75 71, S Lee (Kor) 71 75, P Larrazábal (Esp) 72 74, S Hend (Aus) 73 73, A Bland (Aus) 74 72, P Dunne (Irl) 71 75, M Siem (Ger) 76 70, M Fraser (Aus) 75 71, R Karlsson (Swe) 73 73,
147 J Smith (Eng) 71 76, T Pieters (Bel) 75 72, E Els (RSA) 75 72, J Scrivener (Aus) 75 72, A Chesters (Eng) 73 74, A Otaegui (Esp) 75 72, C Shinkwin (Eng) 74 73, G Havret (Fra) 75 72, P Oriol (Esp) 75 72, N Colsaerts (Bel) 71 76, P O’Hara (Sco) 71 76, J Morrison (Eng) 69 78,
148 P Harrington (Irl) 78 70, J Guerrier (Fra) 72 76, J Donaldson (Wal) 75 73,
149 A Rai (Eng) 72 77, T Pulkkanen (Fin) 77 72, R Coles (Eng) 74 75, P Khongwatmai (Tha) 74 75, A Johnston (Eng) 73 76, E Molinari (Ita) 78 71,
150 S Jamieson (Sco) 75 75, Z Lombard (RSA) 78 72, R Paratore (Ita) 74 76, S Chawrasia (Ind) 74 76, W Ormsby (Aus) 75 75, D Im (USA) 75 75, S Brazel (Aus) 73 77, J Norris (Aus) 75 75,
151 R Wattel (Fra) 78 73, C Koepka (USA) 78 73, C Pigem (Esp) 73 78,
152 R Wallis (Eng) 78 74, R Gouveia (Por) 75 77,
154 P Hanson (Swe) 73 81, C Sordet (Fra) 77 77,
155 T Bjørn (Den) 75 80,
156 A Connelly (Can) 78 78, L Slattery (Eng) 77 79,
157 S Brown (Eng) 80 77,
163 G Hay (Sco) 85 78,
** Y Miyazato (Jpn) RT 0,

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