Friday, May 25, 2018

Rory McIlroy at his best with a 65 to lead by 3 at halfway       

                         Round Two report from Wentworth

Rory McIlroy delighted the huge Wentworth Club crowds with the best round of the second day at the BMW PGA Championship, storming into a three-shot halfway lead as the Northern Irishman targets a maiden Rolex Series victory over the weekend.
The four-time Major winner displayed the kind of imperious form which earned him the title at the prestigious Surrey venue back in 2014 with a flawless seven-under 65, which included a run of four consecutive birdies on the back nine.
His 12-under-par total of 132 strokes ties the second-lowest 36-hole score in the tournament’s long history and sets up what is sure to be an enthralling weekend of action on the picturesque West Course.
The reigning Race to Dubai Champion Tommy Fleetwood is in close pursuit in fourth position on eight under par after birdieing the final three holes in a round of 66.
Fleetwood’s fellow Englishman, Sam Horsfield, is three shots back on nine under par 135 after the 21 year old carded a four under par 68 to earn a place in the final group alongside the former World Number One McIlroy. Tied for second alongside Horsfield is Frenchman Sébastien Gros, who carded a six under 66 in the final group of the day following an up-and-down from a fairway bunker for a closing birdie.
Defending champion Alex Noren, who stormed to an incredible triumph last year courtesy of a course-record final round 62, is also in contention again following a 68, with the Swede just five shots back on seven under par.
Noren is joined in a share of fifth place by Thailand’s World Number 31 Kiradech Aphibarnrat (69), Italian two-time Ryder Cup player Francesco Molinari (67) and two-time European Tour winner Robert Rock of England (68).
Graeme McDowell - who was earlier in the week announced as a Ryder Cup vice-captain to Thomas Bjørn – carded his best round on the European Tour since last November with a five under par 67 to move into a share of eighth place alongside nine others including eight-time European Tour winner Branden Grace of South Africa and the first round leader Lucas Bjerregaard of Denmark.
Player quotes
Rory McIlroy
“I played really well, to go bogey-free around here - I think I only missed one green, and not by a lot. It was one of the best rounds of golf I've played this year, ball-striking-wise. There were still a couple of loose shots in there, like the one on 18, but overall it was a great round of golf.
“I had everything firing today and it was nice to take advantage of the opportunities I gave myself. It’s nice to live up to the billing I guess a little bit. I really enjoy playing in front of these crowds. They are incredible to get up on a Friday morning at eight in the morning and come out and follow us.
“It was a really great atmosphere out there. Being in the final group tomorrow, most likely, that atmosphere will be around the group again and I'm looking forward to that.”
Sam Horsfield
“It's not the widest of golf courses off the tee so you can definitely get yourself into trouble, with the big trees. But you can make birdies out here too, as the guys have shown. The conditions are soft with the rain yesterday and you can go flag hunting, and I think it's going to become a putting contest coming down to Sunday. I feel really comfortable with my putter right now, so I’m looking forward to it.
“I think any time you're playing on the weekend and you're up there near Rory, you're going to be doing pretty well. I'm just looking forward to tomorrow and I'm going to go out there and give it my all.”
Sébastien Gros
“I started hitting the irons very close from the eighth to the 12th, then I struggled with two bogeys from two bad tee shots. But I had lots of great opportunities and the putter was great today.
“It was a good back nine and especially finishing so late in the day, you’re not very used to it. The eagle at 12th was the highlight after two eight iron shots within six feet and then a seven iron to 12 to six feet.
“Rory is my age but he turned pro way before me and I was not quite the player he was when he was an amateur – not saying we’re the same players now as a pro for sure! I think when Rory is at his best he’s the best player in the world by far.”

Tommy Fleetwood
“I think today was like two different sides. Obviously I had actually quite a few chances but in general, I didn't hit my irons as well as I would have liked to, or not as close, and I had to use different part of my game a little bit at times.
“Honestly, coming back here, I've been so excited about it. The atmosphere will be great this weekend but you've got to just keep your head down and concentrate on what you're doing. Who knows what Rory is going to do. He's four clear of me and he's one of the best players of all time.”
Alex Noren
“I scrambled very well. I hit a lot of off-shots, but then I got it together and played better on the back nine. I don't think I've ever seen anything like that (Rory McIlroy’s round). It was just great shot after great shot after great shot. It was impressive and I'm really happy for him.
“Seven-under total - I would have taken that any day for the first two rounds, especially on this golf course. “I’m really happy about seven-under but not so happy about my long game on some of the holes I played – they were not the greatest shots out there. For 12 holes I played well and the rest I scrambled.”

Graeme McDowell
“I think under normal circumstances, if I had not been announced as Vice Captain this week and obviously being asked to perform in front of The Ryder Cup Captain for a guy who needs to play well this summer, I think the pressure would have been on me.
“But it’s slightly different kind of vibe I suppose, feeling like I am part of the team, and I really feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders a little bit which is allowing me to go out there and enjoy my golf at Wentworth.

“I'm feeling very comfortable out there, and I’m looking forward to being in the mix coming into the weekend. This is always a fun event and the golf course is in as good a shape as I've ever seen it.
"When Rory is on his game, he's incredibly tough to catch. I know he likes it around here and these are perfect conditions for him.”

Par 144 (2x72). Distance: 7,284yds
132 R McIlroy (NIre) 67 65
135 S Gros (Fra) 69 66, S Horsfield (Eng) 67 68
136 T Fleetwood (Eng) 70 66 
137 R Rock (Eng) 69 68, A Noren (Swe) 69 68, K Aphibarnrat (Thailand) 68 69, F Molinari (Ita) 70 67
138 A Levy (Fra) 70 68, M Korhonen (Finland) 68 70, L Jensen (Denmark) 68 70, F Zanotti (Paraguay) 69 69, L Bjerregaard (Denmark) 65 73, D Fichardt (SAf) 66 72, N Bertasio (Ita) 68 70, G McDowell (NIre) 71 67, M Fitzpatrick (Eng) 67 71, B Grace (SAf) 69 69 
139 M Pavon (Fra) 72 67, L Westwood (Eng) 70 69, J Heath (Eng) 72 67, D Burmester (SAf) 66 73, H Li (China) 73 66, T Olesen (Denmark) 69 70, T Immelman (SAf) 71 68, A Sullivan (Eng) 71 68, E Van Rooyen (SAf) 70 69, R Fisher (Eng) 71 68, B Hebert (Fra) 70 69 
140 S Gallacher (Sco) 71 69, C Wood (Eng) 72 68, R Ramsay (Sco) 69 71, S Lowry (Ire) 69 71, R Cabrera Bello (Spn) 72 68, B Neil (Sco) 71 69, M Kieffer (Ger) 69 71, E Pepperell (Eng) 72 68, A Saddier (Fra) 70 70
141 M Kinhult (Swe) 74 67, P Waring (Eng) 73 68, M Manassero (Ita) 75 66, I Poulter (Eng) 74 67, H Tanihara (Jpn) 69 72, J Suri (USA) 74 67, M Southgate (Eng) 69 72, T Jaidee (Thailand) 69 72, A Björk (Swe) 71 70, M Wallace (Eng) 72 69
142 R Cho (SKor) 74 68, B An (SKor) 74 68, D Lipsky (USA) 70 72, R Bland (Eng) 67 75, M Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 72 70, G Green (Malaysia) 72 70, P Casey (Eng) 72 70
143 B Stone (SAf) 73 70, A Wu (China) 72 71, J Kruyswijk (SAf) 73 70, S Fernandez (Spn) 74 69, R Fox (NZ) 70 73, D Brooks (Eng) 70 73, J Wang (SKor) 74 69, J Dantorp (Swe) 74 69, T Detry (Belgium) 72 71, A Pavan (Ita) 73 70, M Warren (Sco) 71 72, H Porteous (SAf) 74 69, A Dodt (Australia) 70 73

144 H Varner (USA) 75 69, M Kaymer (Ger) 70 74, C Hanson (Eng) 74 70, D Frittelli (SAf) 71 73, J Winther (Denmark) 74 70, J Luiten (Netherlands) 73 71, R Jacquelin (Fra) 76 68, T Aiken (SAf) 72 72, O Fisher (Eng) 75 69, B Dredge (Wales) 68 76, O Farr (Wales) 73 71, J Lagergren (Swe) 72 72, R Sterne (SAf) 76 68, G Bourdy (Fra) 75 69
145 G Coetzee (SAf) 75 70, B Rumford (Australia) 75 70, N Elvira (Spn) 75 70, C Paisley (Eng) 68 77, S Kjeldsen (Denmark) 76 69, D Drysdale (Sco) 74 71, A Quiros (Spn) 71 74, J Choi (SKor) 73 72, M Ilonen (Finland) 71 74, C Ford (Eng) 69 76, R Evans (Eng) 76 69, G Fernandez-Castaño (Spn) 69 76, D Howell (Eng) 73 72
146 D Horsey (Eng) 73 73, T Hatton (Eng) 73 73, J Campillo (Spn) 72 74, A Romero (Argentina) 73 73, D Willett (Eng) 75 71, S Lee (SKor) 71 75, P Larrazábal (Spn) 72 74, S Hend (Australia) 73 73, A Bland (Australia) 74 72, P Dunne (Ire) 71 75, M Siem (Ger) 76 70, M Fraser (Australia) 75 71, R Karlsson (Swe) 73 73
147 J Smith (Eng) 71 76, T Pieters (Belgium) 75 72, E Els (SAf) 75 72, J Scrivener (Australia) 75 72, A Chesters (Eng) 73 74, A Otaegui (Spn) 75 72, C Shinkwin (Eng) 74 73, G Havret (Fra) 75 72, P Oriol (Spn) 75 72, N Colsaerts (Belgium) 71 76, P O'Hara (Sco) 71 76, J Morrison (Eng) 69 78
148 P Harrington (Ire) 78 70, J Guerrier (Fra) 72 76, J Donaldson (Wales) 75 73
149 A Rai (Eng) 72 77, T Pulkkanen (Finland) 77 72, R Coles (Eng) 74 75, P Khongwatmai (Thailand) 74 75, A Johnston (Eng) 73 76, E Molinari (Ita) 78 71
150 S Jamieson (Sco) 75 75, Z Lombard (SAf) 78 72, R Paratore (Ita) 74 76, S Chawrasia (India) 74 76, W Ormsby (Australia) 75 75, D Im (USA) 75 75, S Brazel (Austra;ia) 73 77, J Norris (Australia) 75 75
151 R Wattel (Fra) 78 73, C Koepka (USA) 78 73, C Pigem (Spn) 73 78
152 R Wallis (Eng) 78 74, R Gouveia (Portugal) 75 77 
154 P Hanson (Swe) 73 81, C Sordet (Fra) 77 77 
155 T Bjørn (Denmark) 75 80,
156 A Connelly (Canada) 78 78, L Slattery (Eng) 77 79
157 S Brown (Eng) 80 77 
163 G Hay (Sco) 85 78
Retired: Y Miyazato (Jpn) retired



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