McIl­roy goes down path of least re­sis­tance to a par

Los Angeles Times - - GOLF: PGA CHAMPIONSHIP - By Art Span­der sports@la­times.com

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It was a shot known to high­hand­i­cap golfers, a six-iron bounced along a paved cart path. Only the guy play­ing it was four-time major cham­pion Rory McIl­roy, and he was do­ing it Fri­day in the sec­ond round of the PGA Cham­pi­onship.

On the 592-yard, par-five 10th, his first hole of the day, McIl­roy’s sec­ond shot went right to­ward the gallery, ric­o­cheted off the macadam cart path and rolled into rough on the 11th hole, 110 yards from the pin on No. 10.

He chose not to try to hit over a line of trees, in­stead choos­ing the low route, down the cart path. The ball bounced out of a bunker and across the green into the fringe, from where McIl­roy two-putted for a par

“I got a lit­tle un­lucky when my sec­ond shot hit the cart path,” he said, “It [the third] was the only op­tion I had. I said, ‘OK, I’ll bounce it up and see where it goes.’ Luck­ily, it got out of the bunker and on to the other side.

“That could have been a six or seven quite eas­ily. So, to ac­tu­ally get away with a five, I ac­tu­ally felt pretty good about my­self go­ing to the next tee.”

McIl­roy ended up with his sec­ond straight one-over par 72.

Fowler calls this the tough­est test

Rickie Fowler, still try­ing to win his first major, shot a one-un­der 70 and is at three­un­der 139. Start­ing at No. 10, he had two birdies and one bo­gey and parred his last 10 holes.

“For the most part,” Fowler said, “if you look at the ma­jors, this is prob­a­bly the hard­est test we’ve had this year. That’s say­ing some­thing. Birk­dale [the Bri­tish Open venue] is a pretty spe­cial place. But [Quail Hol­low], with the greens dry­ing out and the rough up, you can’t miss your lines by very much and get away with it.”

Mick­el­son im­proves but still misses cut

It took Phil Mick­el­son 31 holes to make his first birdie of the tour­na­ment, sink­ing a putt for a two on the 184-yard fourth, his 13th hole of the day. Af­ter fol­low­ing that with a bo­gey and dou­ble bo­gey, Mick­el­son made two more birdies. He shot a two-over 74 and fin­ished 11 over, not close to mak­ing the cut.

Mick­el­son, 47, had played well at Quail Hol­low when the Wells Fargo tour­na­ment was played here. “But it’s a dif­fer­ent course than we’ve played in the past,” he said. “One of the rea­sons I’ve played so well is there was no rough. Here there is se­vere rough. Cou­pled with the fact that I hit the ball above the hole most of the time, that’s a bad com­bi­na­tion.

“I’m not search­ing. It’s not like I’m hit­ting the ball crooked. I’m just hit­ting it in the wrong spots.”

Club pro ad­vances

Omar Uresti played in 350 events as a mem­ber of the PGA Tour. Now, at age 49 and with­out an af­fil­i­a­tion, he won the Club Pro Cham­pi­onship, qual­i­fied for the PGA Cham­pi­onship and af­ter his one­un­der 70 for a two-over 144 to­tal is the first club pro to make the cut in two years.

Brian Gaffney in 2015 at Whistling Straits was the only club pro to make the cut the last six years. Uresti never qual­i­fied for the PGA Cham­pi­onship while on Tour.

Na gets hot, too late

Kevin Na had a stretch of five birdies in six holes and shot 69, which was 10 strokes bet­ter than Thurs­day, but his six-over to­tal of 148 missed the cut.

De­fend­ing cham­pion Jimmy Walker followed his 81 with a 69, also miss­ing the cut.

Among oth­ers who won’t be around for the week­end: Ernie Els, Ser­gio Gar­cia, John Daly, Luke Don­ald, Jim Furyk and Davis Love III.

Jeff Siner Charlotte Ob­server

RORY McIL­ROY FINDS A HOLE af­ter mov­ing the gallery out of the way on the 10th hole, his first of the day. He made a par and wound up shoot­ing 72.

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