Rory McIlroy Cards 2nd-Round 69, Enters Weekend 1 Under at PGA Championship

Blake SchusterAnalyst IIAugust 8, 2020

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, watches his tee shot on the eighth hole during the second round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at TPC Harding Park Friday, Aug. 7, 2020, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

Rory McIlroy's first round at the PGA Championship left plenty of room for improvement. Friday's action showed he was adapting quickly, but TPC Harding in San Francisco still got the best of the golfer.

Playing in a group with Tiger Woods and Justin Thomas, McIlroy finished with a 69 in his second round to land in a tie for 31st place.

Ryan Lavner @RyanLavnerGC

Rory on playing in Tiger's group, without fans: "It's so much easier. I'm happy to be drawn with him every week until fans come back."

McIlroy shot an even-par 70 to open up his weekend Thursday, finding a birdie the first hole and notching three more on the back nine. A stretch of three straight bogeys on No. 12 through No. 14 sullied what could've been a solid opening round, but a recovery on the last four holes of the day left him tied for 48th and just five strokes off the lead. 

On holes 12-14 Friday, McIlroy shot three over par again thanks to a triple-bogey No. 12.

After his first two shots landed in the rough, McIlroy reached the green with his fourth stroke and three-putted from nearly 11 feet out before he could escape. 

The mistake was as costly as anyone made on the course all day. 

Before coming upon No. 12, McIlroy had birdied four straight holes before making par on No. 11. The following hole ruined what could've been a monumental day. 


An opening birdie for @McIlroyRory. Can he make a charge this afternoon? https://t.co/34sVedvHnP

PGA Championship Friday Leaderboard 

1. Haotong Li (-8)

2. Mike Lorenzo-Vera (-7)

T3. Tommy Fleetwood (-6)

T3. Jason Day (-6)

T3. Daniel Berger (-6)

T3. Brooks Koepka (-6)

T3. Justin Rose (-6)

T3. Joel Dahmen

T9. Cameron Champ (-5)

T9. Paul Casey (-5)

T9. Brendon Todd (-5)


T31. Rory McIlroy

Notables: T12. Dustin Johnson (-4), T18. Tony Finau (-3), T25. Bryson DeChambeau (-2), T31. Gary Woodland (-1), T45. Tiger Woods (E)

McIlroy will enter Saturday looking to make a big leap on the leaderboard, but he'll have to continue to avoid the rough to do so as he hit just half of the fairways off the tee Friday. The Irish-born golfer had an average driving distance of 310.5 yards, but with rough playing a few inches deep, anything off the fairway is going to require more energy and precision to navigate. 

That presented a problem on the third hole of the day Friday when a reporter accidentally stepped on McIlroy's ball just outside the green, burying it in an already tough spot. After calling over tour officials, McIlroy was allowed to reset his shot, but rather than placing the ball gently on top of the rough, McIlroy gave himself an honest lie, pushing it deeper into the grass to avoid any advantage. 

He would finish with a bogey on No. 3 before another bogey on No. 5 set him back any further.


Just the fifth birdie of the day at No. 8. That's two in a row for @McIlroyRory. https://t.co/uLcTbELhDQ

That seemed like it would be the most upsetting stretch of the day as McIlroy responded with four straight birdies—he had six on the day—on No. 7 through No. 10. At least until he happened upon No. 12, where his game unraveled again.

As he enters Day 3, McIlroy will need to avoid errors both accidental and forced to remain in contention.