Rory McIlroy began his second round with a moment of magic, but even a late rally saw him end it 10 shots off the lead in the 99th US PGA Championship.
McIlroy was in danger of missing the halfway cut for the fourth time in his last seven major appearances after dropping four shots in the space of five holes at Quail Hollow.
And although he birdied the next two and came agonisingly close to making it a hat-trick on the ninth, his final hole of the day, the 28-year-old’s second successive 72 left him two over par.
American Kevin Kisner had set the early halfway target at eight under par after his second straight 67, with Rickie Fowler his nearest challenger in the clubhouse on three under.
“I thought conditions were just as tough, if not tougher this morning, as they were yesterday,” said McIlroy, whose only major victory when trailing after 36 holes came when he was two behind in the 2012 US PGA.
“I was battling. I was scrambling well to be under par for that back nine. I probably didn’t quite hit it as well off the tee as I did yesterday and wasn’t putting myself in positions where I could go at a lot of pins.
“I had a little bit of a mini-rally at the end which I needed, but the four bogeys on the front nine that’s just down to being out of position off the tee and not being able to get it very close with my second shot.
“Hopefully (I can) tidy that up going into tomorrow, but obviously Kis is on fire right now. But take him out of the equation, I feel like I’m still right there in the tournament.”