Rory McIlroy returns to the eighth fairway of the Bellerive course staring at missing the halfway cut in the storm-interrupted PGA Championship, while Shane Lowry is best of the Irish on four under through ten holes.
Thunderstorms halted play at 3.35pm local time (9.35pm Irish) before being suspended for the day some two hours later, with confirmation that the second round would restart at 7am local time (1pm Irish) on Saturday. Once the second round is completed the third round will commence from both the first and 10th tees and with a three-ball format.
McIlroy was struggling through seven holes, right on the even par cut line, when players were called from the St. Louis course and while he found safety in the clubhouse, his wife Erica a former PGA of America employee, found her way to the Media Centre and spent the two hours during the delay catching-up with former colleagues.
McIlroy had ended his first round with nine straight pars and stretched that to 16 straight in paring his opening seven holes on day two, with the Ulsterman having ‘bombed’ a 358-yard slap down the middle of the par-5 eighth when the siren sounded.
The World No. 5 ranked McIlroy began his second day missing the opening two fairways but managing to save par on each occasion. He two-putted the par-3 third from 6-feet and found the short stuff off the tee at four and five before two-putting a 55-footer for par at the par-3 sixth. He then made a mess of his second shot into the par-4 seventh before getting up-and-down for par from 30-feet.
But as he headed to the safety of the clubhouse, McIlroy was sharing 64th place and among 74 players inside the expected even-par cut-off mark.
Woods, who had also signed for an opening 70, was showing McIlroy a clean pair of heels in birdieing three of his opening five holes, and was just left of the fairway down the eighth. Woods had picked-up 25 places to move to a share of 23rd at three-under par, seven adrift of fellow American Gary Woodland, who added a 66 to his opening 64 and moved a stroke clear of the St. Louis field with a PGA Championship new record opening 36-hole score of 10-under par.
Woodland, 34, is contesting a seventh PGA Championship with a prior best finish of T12th on debut in 2011.
“I probably didn’t play as well as I did yesterday top to bottom, but the iron game really kept me in it today,” he said. “I also got a little wayward with a couple of drives and hit a lot of good putts that didn’t go in but I can live with that.”
Defending PGA champ, Justin Thomas, had birdied the second hole to move to two-under par in tally while Shane Lowry continued to lead the four-man Irish challenge, brilliantly picking-up three birdies in 10 holes to be sharing 16th place at four-under in total, and on his 11th tee when play was stopped.
Lowry holed respective birdie putts of 21-foot and 13-feet at his third and fourth holes and then at the par-5 that he was playing as his eighth, the Offaly golfer missed the green 30-yards left with his second but then chipped to 13-feet and rolled-in the birdie.
Former champ, Padraig Harrington had birdied his second hole to get back to level par but poor second shot to a rear bunker at his sixth handed him a bogey. Harrington was staring at a four-footer for birdie on his ninth when play was set to resume.
And Paul Dunne’s recent woes continued with the Greystones golfer dropping to four-over for the tournament through six holes and one-over for his round.
“The course is already soft so I don’t know if it will really effect the conditions,” said Dunne as he made his way to his PGA courtesy car.
“The greens are already holding big time. We’ll just be a little more sleep-deprived out there. I’m playing poorly, struggling tee to green, really.”
“My putting and scrambling is keeping me in it. I need to be patient. I’m trying to find answers right now but there’re too many questions.”