Rory McIlroy stalls but remains in contention at Aronimink
After opening 62s, McIlroy and Tiger Woods both struggled a little on the second day
Rory McIlroy reacts to a missed putt on the eighth green during the second round of the BMW Championship at Aronimink Golf Club in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania. Photo: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images
They say that an exceptional round of golf is rarely followed by another and that was certainly the case for Rory McIlroy in the second round of the BMW Championship in Pennsylvania on Friday.
After a scorching 62 to equal the course record and tie Tiger Woods for the lead at the end of the first round, McIlroy was left frustrated on Friday morning as the birdie blitz dried up, leaving him four off the lead set by Xander Schauffele at 13 under.
With tee times moved forward due to the threat of incoming thunderstorms the four-time Major winner opened with five consecutive pars before finding a first birdie of the day at the sixth.
Knowing a win this week would catapult him into the top five in the FedEx Cup rankings and therefore put his fate – and the potential $10 million prize – in his own hands heading into the Tour Championship in two weeks, McIlroy took the aggressive approach on a course softened by overnight rain.
However, that approach did not pay off as well on Friday, with McIlroy blaming some missed fairways for the lack of birdies.
“I didn’t hit as many fairways, got some really bad lies in the rough,” he said afterwards.
“With the pins tucked away I couldn’t get to them. I thought the greens were a little slower today and couldn’t really get the ball to the hole. I battled for the first 12 holes and made some nice birdies on the way in.”
A bogey at the Par 3 eighth and another at the 12th knocked McIlroy back to one over par for his round and in danger of falling well behind but he rallied with a birdie at the 13th before a stunning 223 yard second shot to the Par 5 16th left just 13 feet for eagle.
That putt would narrowly miss on the left but a tap-in birdie and two pars to finish completed a round of 69, leaving McIlroy in a tie for sixth, two behind Justin Rose and four behind Schauffele. Hideki Matsuyama, Keegan Bradley, Alex Noren and Rickie Fowler all sit at 10 under heading into the third round.
For Woods it was a similarly frustrating day following his own 62 on Thursday as he struggled to gain any momentum greens that were rolling uncharacteristically slow for a PGA Tour event.
A bogey at the fifth set the 14-time Major winner back early but birdies at the ninth and 11th got him under par for the day. Another birdie at the 16th moved Woods into the tie for second at 10 under but a bogey at the 17th, followed by a three-putt bogey at the final hole, sent him tumbling back into the pack at eight under with a level par round of 70.
Woods, who was this week named as a wild card pick for the Ryder Cup, said on pgatour.com: “I hit it just as good and putt it just as good. Nothing went in. That’s the way it goes.
“That round today was easily six, seven-under par. It turned into even par which is not what I needed to do today.”
Collated second round scores & totals in the BMW Championship, Aronimink GC, Newtown Square, Pennsylvania (USA unless stated, Irish in bold, par 70):
127 Xander Schauffele 63 64
129 Justin Rose (Eng) 66 63
130 Keegan Bradley 66 64, Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn) 66 64, Alex Noren (Swe) 64 66, Rickie Fowler 65 65
131 Jason Day (Aus) 67 64, Justin Thomas 64 67, Rory McIlroy (NIrl) 62 69, Billy Horschel 64 67, Charles Howell III 68 63
132 Tiger Woods 62 70, Byeong-Hun An (Kor) 65 67, Aaron Wise 65 67, Gary Woodland 66 66, Kevin Na 70 62, Tony Finau 68 64, Ted Potter, Jr. 68 64, Ryan Armour 65 67
133 Francesco Molinari (Ita) 70 63, Andrew Putnam 67 66, Tommy Fleetwood (Eng) 71 62, Webb Simpson 66 67
134 Jason Kokrak 69 65, Peter Uihlein 64 70, Beau Hossler 67 67, Cheng-Tsung Pan (Tai) 67 67, Keith Mitchell 67 67, Scott Piercy 70 64, Patrick Reed 69 65
135 Jon Rahm (Spa) 66 69, J.J. Spaun 67 68, Henrik Stenson (Swe) 66 69
136 Luke List 70 66, Zach Johnson 68 68, Bubba Watson 71 65, Patrick Cantlay 71 65
137 Chris Kirk 69 68, Kyle Stanley 67 70, Brian Gay 66 71, Brooks Koepka 69 68, Emiliano Grillo (Arg) 67 70, Abraham Ancer (Mex) 69 68, Paul Casey (Eng) 69 68, Tyrrell Hatton (Eng) 69 68, Bryson DeChambeau 67 70, Brice Garnett 70 67
138 Dustin Johnson 70 68, Andrew Landry 68 70, Austin Cook 71 67, Ian Poulter (Eng) 68 70, Adam Hadwin (Can) 69 69, Chesson Hadley 69 69, Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Spa) 70 68, Jordan Spieth 67 71, Chez Reavie 68 70
139 Pat Perez 69 70, Ryan Palmer 70 69, Patton Kizzire 68 71, Kevin Kisner 72 67, Si Woo Kim (Kor) 71 68
140 Marc Leishman (Aus) 74 66, Brandt Snedeker 71 69
141 Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) 73 68, Brian Harman 69 72
142 Cameron Smith (Aus) 71 71, Adam Scott (Aus) 74 68
143 Brendan Steele 74 69
145 Phil Mickelson 73 72