McIlroy saves par at wild 10th
After weird start, late birdies salvage second straight 72.
The closing stretch at Quail Hollow punished D.A. Points. He was 5 under, at the time just one shot off the lead, when he came to the 16th hole. Two holes and two double bogeys later, Points tum- bled down the leaderboard.
On the 16th, he drove into the left rough and played out to far to the right, leav- ing him a bad angle. He hit wedge to 25 feet, but rolled the downhill putt about 6 feet by and missed that one coming back.
Then he headed to the par-3 17th, which played only 177 yards because of the front pin tucked over the bunker.
“I was in between clubs,” Points said. “I’m trying to chip a 7-iron and stopped on it and pulled it and it went in the water.”
Even so, he’s trying to remind himself this has been a good year. Points won the Puerto Rico Open to get a two-year exemption, and he has done well enough this season to make it back to the PGA Championship.
Rory McIlroy saw his second shot sail toward the gallery at the PGA Championship, so he knew it would be right of the green on the par-5 10th hole at Quail Hollow.
He just never imagined it would be 100 yards away.
Or that he would be playing on a different hole.
Unfortunately for him, the ball hit a cart path. Worse yet, the path headed down a steep slope toward the 11th fairway. By the time it finished bouncing, McIlroy had to drop the ball in a patch of thick grass so far down the hill that he had to get creative with his escape.
“It was really the only option I had,” McIlroy said. “I dropped it in a pretty bad lie, so I couldn’t carry it over the cart path. So I hit a 6-iron. Just said, ‘OK, I’ll bounce it up the cart path and see where this goes.’”
He punched the 6-iron and it skipped twice along the cement path with so much speed that it went into the bunker, out of the bunker and across the green until it settled in the light rough on the other side. He chipped down to a foot and tapped it in for his par. Simple.
As he waited to tee off on No. 11, McIlroy leaned over and whispered, “For what it’s worth, it’s 110 yards if you’re ever down there.”
It was an amazing start, and the most excitement he delivered Friday. But he needed so much more.
For the second straight day, McIlroy went through a bad stretch of holes that sent him further away from the lead. He at least salvaged the round with two late birdies for another 1-over 72.
“There’s still 36 holes to go and a lot of golf to be played,” he said. “I still feel I’m right there in the tournament.”
McIlroy is no stranger to rallies at Quail Hollow. This is where he recorded his first PGA Tour victory, when he was on the verge of missing the cut until an eagle on his 16th hole got him into the weekend. From there, he shot 66-62 and won by four shots over Phil Mickelson.
McIlroy won again at Quail Hollow with a 61 that sent him to a seven-shot victory.
But this isn’t the same golf course. More than the club overhauling three holes of the opening stretch, it switched to a Bermuda grass that can lead to gnarly lies off the fairway and around the green, and putting surfaces that can get slick.
“I guess a low round used to be a 61 or a 62,” McIlroy said. “A low round now is a 66 or a 67.” before he cleaned up a spot for him to take relief from a cart path. It didn’t do him any good. Spieth pulled his shot and went into more pine straw 111 yards from the pin. He tried to play that shot over a bunker and onto the green, but the ball hit a branch and dropped into more pine straw.
His fourth shot came up short of the green, and he chipped up and made the putt for bogey.
Three weeks after a late surge helped him win the British Open and claim the third leg of the career Grand Slam, the 24-year-old was trying to become the youngest player to have won all four major championships.
After ending the f i rst round five strokes off the lead, Spieth acknowledged he needed to close the gap during Round 2 to give himself a chance.
4Instead, the gap more than doubled.
A day after Spieth didn’t make a putt longer than 5 feet on the new greens at Quail Hollow, he made only two from 10 feet or longer — a 10-footer for par on No. 7, and a 12-footer on the 12th for his only birdie of the round.
“Things were in just such tough locations that it was hard to get the ball to feed to the hole,” Spieth said. “So it’s a tough track where they’re putting these flagsticks. It makes it tough to score . ... Just really didn’t get many looks today, so with one birdie, it’s going to be hard to post a solid round.”
With the tricky greens softer and slower after a 1-hour, 45-minute rain delay, Spieth missed birdie putts of between 10 and 40 feet on three consecutive holes, Nos. 15-17.
He also bogeyed the par-4 18th after he sent his tee shot into a fairway bunker, then clipped the lip of the trap when he tried to escape and sent that shot left of the green and left his chip short, prompting him to take an extra swing of his wedge in frustration. He missed a 10-foot par putt and tapped in for bogey.
“It was definitely a lot more gettable after the rain delay than before, no doubt about it,” Spieth said. “I played even par (actually 1 over) after the delay, and that’s not very good in my opinion.”
Ki s ner f aced tougher, faster conditions in the morning and holed a 50-foot eagle putt from short of the green on the par-5 seventh hole. When his round was over, Kisner had a five-shot lead over the players from his side of the draw.
It didn’t look as though anyone would get close.