Two-time winner Rory McIlroy hoped follow made good as he battled to keep away from lacking the reduce within the US PGA Championship for the primary time in his profession on Friday.
McIlroy lifted the Wanamaker Trophy in 2012 and 2014 and has recorded three different top-eight finishes in seven appearances within the last main of the 12 months, however struggled to a gap four-over-par 74 at Baltusrol.
The longest putt McIlroy holed was simply seven ft and he wanted 34 extra to complete a birdie-free spherical – his fourth in 115 main rounds and second this 12 months – 9 pictures off the lead held by American Jimmy Walker, with the midway reduce predicted to fall at one over.
With the searing warmth forcing event officers to water the greens throughout play, McIlroy mentioned he would wait till temperatures cooled earlier than returning to the course to work on his placing.
And the 27-year-old world quantity 4 was pretty much as good as his phrase, arriving at 6.15pm and spending greater than an hour on the placing inexperienced beneath the watchful eye of coach Michael Bannon.
”Tee to inexperienced isn’t the issue and I am driving the ball in addition to ever I believe, however after I get to the greens it is a totally different story,” a annoyed McIlroy mentioned.
”I actually struggled with the tempo. They appear a lot faster than they’re and two or thrice I had putts inside 12 ft that have been downhill and left them brief.
”I have to be extra aggressive with my stroke, shoot one thing within the mid-60s and get into the weekend. That is the primary goal. I’ll keep as affected person as I can and attempt to flip it round.”
Walker held a one-shot lead over England’s Ross Fisher, former champion Martin Kaymer and Argentina’s
Emiliano Grillo, with Open champion Henrik Stenson and Andy Sullivan amongst these a shot additional again.
Simply 11 days after lifting the Claret Jug with a record-breaking efficiency at Royal Troon, Stenson carded a gap 67 to spice up his possibilities of matching McIlroy’s achievement in 2014 of profitable the Open and US PGA in the identical season.
”It is going to be a fantastic season for me, however on the similar time I need to give myself an opportunity to attempt to make it one of the best season,” Stenson mentioned after outscoring enjoying companions and fellow 2016 main winners Danny Willett and Dustin Johnson by 4 and 10 pictures respectively.
”I nonetheless need to focus and get again into it. With extra time (between occasions) it could have made it simpler to recharge, however on the similar time I really feel I can carry that momentum I had on the Open Championship and I suppose the beginning reveals that we’re not too distant after we teed it up once more.”