Rory McIlroy keeps the drama going all the way home to make PGA cut

World No 2 will start the weekend 12 shots off joint leaders Danny Willett and Jon Rahm

 Rory McIlroy chips on to the 18th during thre second round  of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Golf Club. Photograph: Bradley Collyer/PA Wire

Rory McIlroy chips on to the 18th during thre second round of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Golf Club. Photograph: Bradley Collyer/PA Wire

 

It was always likely to come down to this. Rory McIlroy’s playing of the final two holes of the Wentworth west course in three over par on Thursday left him embroiled in a second day battle just to make the BMW PGA Championship cut.

McIlroy duly reached the 17th tee needing to play the last two holes of his second round in level to take his place in Saturday’s draw. A chip in from behind the 16th green meant McIlroy just needed two, error-free holes; five-five would suffice.

The four-times Major winner delivered a straightforward par on 17 before carving an approach to the last right. A chip from a treacherous position left McIlroy with two putts from 40 feet to make the cut. He left the first 6 feet short, proving how a sense of drama is never far from this golfer’s scene. McIlroy converted confidently from there; his 69 and one over par aggregate means 36 more holes.

The tournament organisers, never mind McIlroy, breathed a sigh of relief. He might be a dozen shots from the lead but the 30-year-old’s very involvement here raises the championship’s profile.

“I’m still not in sync with everything but I battled well,” McIlroy said. “My alignment has been off and it’s hard when that happens.”

McIlroy’s playing partner Shane Lowry enters the weekend two shots better off after he birdied the 18th for a one-under 71 that left him one under for the tournament. Ryder Cup captain Pádraig Harrington needed a closing birdie to also make it right on the mark after he posted a level-par 72. Paul Dunne could only manage a 77 to go with his opening 80 to finish second from last in the field on 13 over.

Rory McIlroy smiles after completing his second round at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Golf Club. Photograph: Bradley Collyer/PA Wire
Rory McIlroy smiles after completing his second round at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Golf Club. Photograph: Bradley Collyer/PA Wire

At the business end of proceedings, Jon Rahm has tied Danny Willett at 11 under par. Willett’s 65 on Friday was two strokes better than Rahm, who is seeking fourth victory in one of the European Tour’s marquee Rolex Series events.

“I think it’s a great golf course,” said the Spaniard. “That’s why I love coming back to Europe to play these traditional style golf courses, where they are not long, they are not overly complicated but things can get difficult for a player real quick. They make you think about it. You can be as aggressive or as conservative as you want off the tee and make it fun that way.”

Willett had played his outward half in just 29 shots, rendering a back nine of 36 something of a disappointment for galleries who sensed records could be broken. Willett, though, is perfectly content with his halfway position. The former Masters champion is a firm advocate of this tournament in September, switched from its previous slot in May.

“It is a better date,” Willett said. “Our summers are kind of going later on in the year and our winters are moving to January, February, March. To try and get this golf course in great condition in May has always been a pretty tough task for the guys. They have done a great job of it, but this year with that few extra months gives time for the sun to come out, the heat to come through and the growth to be more even. That’s why you’ll see some good scoring. We are not getting too many iffy lies out there and the greens are rolling really well.

“It’s the best condition I’ve seen it in the 10 years I’ve been here. It’s all set up for a really good weekend.”

Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and Christiaan Bezuidenhout are tied at minus nine. Rose continues to defy logic – the 39-year-old arrived in Surrey with an injured knee after slipping last week.

LEADERBOARD

British and Irish unless stated, par 72

133 Jon Rahm (Esp) 66 67, Danny Willett 68 65

135 Justin Rose 67 68, Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Rsa) 68 67, Henrik Stenson (Swe) 66 69

137 Paul Casey 68 69, Billy Horschel (USA) 72 65

138 Tony Finau (USA) 70 68, Shubhankar Sharma (Ind) 71 67, Andrew Putnam (USA) 71 67, Viktor Hovland (Nor) 69 69

139 Francesco Molinari (Ita) 69 70, Andrew Johnston 69 70, Richie Ramsay 71 68, Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel) 73 66, Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Esp) 69 70

140 Mike Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 70 70, Joost Luiten (Ned) 68 72, Jordan Smith 69 71, Mikko Korhonen (Fin) 71 69, George Coetzee (Rsa) 68 72, Russell Knox 69 71, Patrick Reed (USA) 70 70

141 Matt Wallace 65 76, Alex Noren (Swe) 69 72, Paul Waring 70 71, Robert Macintyre 69 72, Joakim Lagergren (Swe) 70 71, Bernd Wiesberger (Aut) 74 67, Aaron Rai 71 70

142 Marcus Kinhult (Swe) 70 72, Kurt Kitayama (USA) 71 71, Sam Horsfield 71 71, Richard Sterne (Rsa) 71 71, Renato Paratore (Ita) 71 71

143 Ross Fisher 70 73, Ashley Chesters 70 73, Romain Langasque (Fra) 69 74, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Esp) 70 73, Haotong Li (Chn) 71 72, Shane Lowry 72 71, Miguel Angel Jimenez (Esp) 69 74, Ian Poulter 73 70

144 David Law 75 69, Soren Kjeldsen (Den) 73 71, Steven Brown 69 75, Branden Grace (Rsa) 72 72, Martin Kaymer (Ger) 70 74, Alvaro Quiros (Esp) 69 75, Tapio Pulkkanen (Fin) 71 73, Ernie Els (Rsa) 68 76, Andrea Pavan (Ita) 68 76, Benjamin Hebert (Fra) 72 72, Erik Van Rooyen (Rsa) 70 74, Thomas Pieters (Bel) 73 71, Matthew Fitzpatrick 73 71

145 Alexander Bjork (Swe) 76 69, Ashun Wu (Chn) 72 73, Scott Jamieson 68 77, Rory McIlroy 76 69, Julian Suri (USA) 71 74, Sebastian Soderberg (Swe) 68 77, Tommy Fleetwood 70 75, Edoardo Molinari (Ita) 71 74, Chris Wood 70 75, Julien Guerrier (Fra) 69 76, Matthias Schwab (Aut) 70 75, Robert Coles 71 74, Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha) 73 72, Andy Sullivan 71 74, Trevor Immelman (Rsa) 71 74, Pádraig Harrington 73 72

MISSED CUT

146 Lucas Bjerregaard (Den) 75 71, Thomas Aiken (Rsa) 71 75, Guido Migliozzi (Esp) 74 72, Brandon Stone (Rsa) 72 74, Lee Slattery 71 75, Lucas Herbert (Aus) 75 71, Andres Romero (Arg) 71 75, David Lipsky (USA) 73 73, Wade Ormsby (Aus) 74 72, Nacho Elvira (Esp) 72 74

147 Jeunghun Wang (Kor) 71 76, Tom null Lewis 71 76, Thomas Detry (Bel) 71 76, Matthew Southgate 73 74, Darren Fichardt (Rsa) 73 74, Oliver Fisher 72 75

148 Justin Harding (Rsa) 73 75, Adrian Otaegui (Esp) 72 76, Pablo Larrazabal (Esp) 77 71

149 Thomas Bjorn (Den) 74 75, Jorge Campillo (Esp) 72 77, Ryan Fox (Nzl) 78 71, Chris Paisley 73 76, Raphael Jacquelin (Fra) 72 77, Lee Westwood 71 78

150 Jose-Maria Olazabal (Esp) 78 72, Scott Hend (Aus) 72 78, S.S.P Chawrasia (Ind) 72 78, Maximilian Kieffer (Ger) 73 77, David Howell 75 75, Richard McEvoy 75 75, Bradley Dredge 73 77

151 Robert Rock 75 76, David Drysdale 76 75, Stephen Gallacher 76 75, Luke Donald 76 75, Hideto Tanihara (Jpn) 75 76, Thongchai Jaidee (Tha) 77 74

152 Romain Wattel (Fra) 71 81, Paul O’Hara 75 77, Matthew Cort 72 80, Tyrrell Hatton 73 79

153 Dean Burmester (Rsa) 76 77, Alexander Levy (Fra) 75 78

154 David Dixon 79 75, Fabrizio Zanotti (Pry) 71 83, James Morrison 76 78, Jens Dantorp (Swe) 77 77

155 Robert Karlsson (Swe) 76 79, Eddie Pepperell 79 76

156 Jacques Kruyswijk (Rsa) 81 75

157 Paul Dunne 80 77

158 Matthieu Pavon (Fra) 79 79

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