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Rory McIlroy faces uphill battle to make cut at US PGA Championship

UK Sport | Published:

Four-time major winner suffered a nightmare start to his second round at Bethpage Black.

Rory McIlroy faced an uphill battle to make the halfway cut after suffering a nightmare start to his second round in the US PGA Championship.

McIlroy’s only birdie of the opening day came on the 18th hole and gave the four-time major winner cause for cautious optimism, but that quickly disappeared on the fearsome back nine at Bethpage Black.

Starting on the 10th, McIlroy hacked his way down the 492-yard par-four to card a double-bogey six and dropped another shot on the next following a tee shot into a fairway bunker.

Rory McIlroy has struggled for form
Rory McIlroy has struggled for form (Charles Krupa/AP)

McIlroy, whose victory in the 2014 US PGA at Valhalla is his last major title to date, stopped the rot with a birdie on the par-five 13th but at six over par was two shots outside the early projected cut mark.

The cut had also become a concern for New Zealand’s Danny Lee, who began the day a shot behind defending champion Brooks Koepka after a superb opening 64, but covered the back nine in 41 to fall back to level par.

Lee dropped shots on the 11th and 12th and then double-bogeyed the 15th and 16th before gratefully starting the easier front nine with a birdie on the first.

Former Masters champion Danny Willett had birdied the first two holes and bounced back from a bogey on the third, a 221-yard par three playing into the wind, to birdie the par-five fourth and reach one under par.

Koepka, who is seeking a fourth major title in his last eight starts, was among the later starters in a group containing Masters champion Tiger Woods and Open champion Francesco Molinari, who were both nine off the pace after opening rounds of 72.

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