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Rory McIlroy at PGA Championship 2016: Friday Leaderboard Score and Reaction

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJuly 29, 2016

Jul 28, 2016; Springfield, NJ, USA; PGA golfer Rory McIlroy tees off on the 12th hole during the first round of the 2016 PGA Championship golf tournament at Baltusrol GC - Lower Course. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Friday at the 2016 PGA Championship did go better for Rory McIlroy, but he was so far behind the eight ball after opening the tournament at four over par that his one-under 69 was not enough to help him make the cut. 

McIlroy made fewer big mistakes Friday, but he couldn't build any momentum. 

Here's the full leaderboard after the second round of this year's final major:

The big story for McIlroy on Thursday was his putter. Per the PGA Tour's official Twitter account, he finished 152nd in strokes gained from putting and took some late-night practice sessions to see if he could piece things together. 

It didn't work out well for the two-time PGA Championship winner. McIlroy attempted to cut out the middle man with this near-eagle on the 11th hole that would have dropped his score to one over par, via PGA Tour:

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

Rory had some serious sauce on this one. #QuickHits https://t.co/H5mSRxTY1C

There were small moments throughout the round when McIlroy failed to execute, which led to him squashing any chance he had to build momentum. He bogeyed the ninth hole as he was making the turn to card a 33 instead of keeping his score for the day at two under par. 

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McIlroy's birdie on the fourth hole was his first of the tournament, via PGA.com:

PGA.COM @PGAcom

Rory McIlroy finally puts a circle around a number. #PGAChamp https://t.co/P8eD98p6mY

After making the turn, McIlroy looked like he was going to start piecing things together with a birdie on No. 11, but he almost immediately gave a shot back with his second bogey on No. 13. 

There were low scores to be had Friday. McIlroy was playing in a group with Jason Day, who went on a spectacular run of seven birdies over eight holes from No. 8 through 15. That came after Day carded a double bogey on the seventh hole that dropped his overall score to even par.

Whatever issue is hovering over McIlroy when he gets on the green is becoming hard to ignore. He had a three-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole and missed the cup. This has gone from a weakness to a case of the yips. 

Per the PGA Tour's official stats, McIlroy ranks 99th in overall putting average and 158th in total putting. Everything else about his game has been largely on point this weekend. He hit 75 percent of greens in regulation with a driving accuracy of 71.4 percent, per PGATour.com

McIlroy found the magic he needed on the 17th hole. He entered the hole at three over before nailing this long birdie putt to keep his chances of playing the weekend alive, via PGA Tour:

PGA.COM @PGAcom

Huge. #PGAChamp https://t.co/cux1zGhmoN

That shot put McIlroy right on the cut line, and he needed at least a par on the 18th hole to salvage something good from the tournament. His second shot did split two bunkers in the rough, leaving him with a difficult task of trying to get the ball uphill out of the high grass and three shots to play with. 

McIlroy's third shot went about 10 feet up the hill but remained well off the green, putting the pressure on him to get the ball close to the hole and salvage par. He did make it to the edge of the green with his next shot, leaving him with a par opportunity. 

McIlroy's chip shot wound up just to the left of the hole. He ended the day by making a short bogey putt.

ESPN's Michael Collins summed things up for McIlroy:

Michael Collins @ESPNCaddie

So the guy who started the week as an 8/1 favorite is going home without playing the weekend. *sigh* Bye Rory McIlroy.

McIlroy has had an unusual year. He missed two cuts in four majors, but he finished in the top 10 at the Masters and British Open. He hasn't won a tournament in 2016, but he's looked to be on the precipice of turning it around several times. 

Friday was a perfect summation of the good and bad for McIlroy, especially those last two holes. He needed to make a big shot to keep his hopes alive, then he nailed a big birdie putt. He needed a par to make that birdie matter, only to botch the ending. 

The good news is McIlroy will have time to regroup since he will not be taking part in the Olympics over the next two weeks. His season has been disappointing overall, but there is time to salvage things before the season ends at the Ryder Cup in October. 

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