Imperious McIlroy moves one ahead at Valhalla

Fri Aug 8, 2014 8:46pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

LOUISVILLE Kentucky (Reuters) - Rory McIlroy, helped by composed shot-making and a stunning eagle on his ninth hole of the day, soared one stroke clear in the weather-hit second round of the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on Friday.

The British Open champion, in pursuit of a third consecutive victory on the PGA Tour, fired a four-under-par 67 on a wet, ultra-long Valhalla layout where play was suspended for 45 minutes earlier in the day due to water-logged conditions.

McIlroy, the pre-tournament favorite heading into the year's final major, holed an uphill 30-foot putt from just off the green to eagle the par-five 18th and also recorded four birdies and two bogeys to post a nine-under total of 133.

Four-times winner Tiger Woods, however, ended a miserable week prematurely when he missed the cut at a major for only the fourth time as a professional, looking tournament rusty in both rounds as he carded successive 74s.

McIlroy squandered a golden opportunity to add another eagle at the par-five seventh, where he hit a brilliant second shot from 243 yards to eight feet before missing the putt, but signed off with a birdie at the ninth where he drained a 16-footer.

"I played well for the most part," world number one McIlroy told reporters after moving a step closer to winning the fourth major title of his career. "Scored really well. Some key up-and-downs to keep the momentum going in the round.

"I'm very pleased. I'm in a great position going into the weekend in another major championship. Can't ask for much more. I'm confident, and I'm just on a good run.

"You've seen before when I got on good runs like this, I can sort of keep it going for a little while," said the Northern Irishman, who won last month's British Open before clinching the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational last Sunday in his next start.   Continued...

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland watches his tee shot on 10th hole during the second round of the 2014 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, August 8, 2014. REUTERS/Brian Snyder