LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Rory McIlroy’s play Friday at Valhalla wasn’t quite as pretty as it was during the opening round.
No matter. His score was nearly as low.
McIlroy shot a 4-under 67 in wet, sloppy conditions to take a two-shot lead after the morning wave completed play at the PGA Championship.
At 9-under 133, he was two clear of Ryan Palmer as the afternoon starters – including first-round co-leaders Lee Westwood and Kevin Chappell – got underway.
“I scored really well,” McIlroy said afterward. “Had some key up-and-downs to keep the momentum going in the round, and I’m really happy with that.”
The world No. 1 hit fewer fairways (eight) and greens (11) than he did during his opening-round 66, but he required just as many putts (27) and dropped only one shot in a stretch where he missed five greens in a row. The bogey on No. 2, his 11th hole of the day, was negated when he blistered a 5-wood to 8 feet on the 600-yard seventh hole, leading to an easy two-putt birdie.
A 16-footer for birdie on No. 9 gave him his 12th consecutive under-par round. It was his 14th sub-70 round in his last 15 attempts.
“Mentally I’m in a really solid place in terms of not getting ahead of myself on the golf course,” he said. “Staying in the present. Obviously my swing is technically in a good place at the minute. I’m confident, and I’m just on a good run.”