BMW PGA Championship 2018: Rory McIlroy surges in England in Round 2 with 65
The Ulsterman is starting to feel it at Wentworth
Rory McIlroy did that very Rory McIlroy-ian thing he often does on Friday at the BMW PGA Championship where he started hop-stepping after drives and walking in lengthy birdie putts following some of the most buttery irons he's hit all year. Times like these engender great fear in big, talented fields, and McIlroy's 65 to follow a Thursday 67 has him 12 under and out in front at Wentworth.
McIlroy is up three on Sam Horsfield and five on everyone else. A lead that large for a suddenly-feeling-it McIlroy spells trouble for would-be contenders. McIlroy's second round crested as he made four consecutive birdies on the back nine to get to 12 under for the week. Three pars to end it, and he was easily in the clubhouse clear of the rest.
"That's the best round I've ever seen," said playing partner Alex Noren, who shot 68 and is just five back. "I'm about to quit golf I think."
"It's tough around here if you're not really on, and then you're playing with Rory," he added. "It's the best round I've ever seen I think. It's tough because it's almost like you're trying to play better than you need to when you see that."
I should remind you that we're talking about a guy who shot a 62 on this course to win this tournament last year. McIlroy's 65 was the round of the day on Friday, though, and it was impressive.
"It was one of the best rounds of golf I've played this year, ball-striking-wise," McIlroy said. "There's 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 sort of firing today and it was nice to take advantage of the opportunities I gave myself."
McIlroy won this event in 2014 right before he went on his Summer of Rory tour de force in which he took The Open, the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the PGA Championship consecutively. We obviously have a long way to go this week, and he's unlikely to repeat that summer. But the parallels are worth noting.
Might we be seeing everything come together at the exact right time for McIlroy?and has a win on the PGA Tour at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where he was flawless in the final round. But he has yet to hop on one of those uber-heaters in which everything in his wake gets charred to nothingness, golfers included.
"Obviously, I have the confidence that I'm playing well, and I can go out and try to I guess just replicate what I did the day before," McIlroy said. "On the first tee box tomorrow, I'll be thinking about what I did today and trying to just keep the same thoughts and make the same swings.
"I went a couple better today than I did yesterday, not sure I'll keep the same progression going but something similar tomorrow would be nice."
McIlroy mentioned the immense crowds at Wentworth multiple times in his post-round interviews. There's nothing like watching Rory burn everything down, and they got everything they wanted from it and more over the first two days. Now McIlroy gets his shot at a second win at Wentworth -- the European Tour's version of The Players Championship -- and an exclamation mark on the preamble to what could be a stunning summer.
"That's all you ask for is giving yourself a chance every week," he said. "I put myself in a good position after two days. Hopefully I'm in a good position after three days and then ... it will be nice to get out there hopefully on Sunday in a position where I can try to win a golf tournament. That would give me a huge bit of confidence going into the summer."
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