Rory McIlroy searching for big Saturday in PGA Championship

Rory McIlroy reacts after missing a putt on the fifth hole during yesterday’s second round of the PGA Championship. (Photo by AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)Rory McIlroy reacts after missing a putt on the fifth hole during yesterday’s second round of the PGA Championship. (Photo by AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Rory McIlroy reacts after missing a putt on the fifth hole during yesterday’s second round of the PGA Championship. (Photo by AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Rory McIlroy heads into the weekend schedule in search of a big Saturday to salvage his PGA Championship.

McIlroy’s bid to build on his opening promise of 66 in search of a fifth major featured a second-round 71 to sit tied for 22nd and trailing leader Xander Schauffele by seven.

A slick start left McIlroy with a birdie on the par-four first and he then produced a string of pars before hitting trouble on the sixth hole and posting a bogey five.

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His response featured a birdie on the next then he wrapped up the front nine with back-to-back pars for a 34 total towards the final run.

His back stretch opened with consecutive pars until a double-bogey on the 12th proved damaging.

He registered five consecutive pars before wrapping up with a birdie finish on the par five 18th.

Olympic champion Schauffele will take a one-shot lead into the third round of the 106th US PGA Championship at Valhalla.

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Schauffele added a second round of 68 to his record-equalling opening 62 to reach 12 under, matching the championship scoring record in relation to par set by Brooks Koepka in 2019.

Former champion Collin Morikawa was a shot off the lead following a superb 65, with Sahith Theegala another stroke back and Scottie Scheffler and Bryson DeChambeau part of a four-strong group on nine under.

Scheffler amazingly returned a 66 hours after being arrested – and subsequently released from police custody – following an incident outside the course.

Scheffler had attempted to get into the course amid heavy traffic caused by an earlier unrelated accident in which a male pedestrian died after being struck by a shuttle bus.

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The world number one faces charges of second-degree assault of a police officer, third-degree criminal mischief, reckless driving and disregarding traffic signals from an officer directing traffic.

The fatal accident resulted in a delay of 80 minutes to all tee times and meant 18 players were unable to complete round two before darkness fell.

Morikawa and Scheffler made up the last group in the final round at Augusta National in April, with Scheffler cruising to his second green jacket as Morikawa faded to a tie for third after a 74.

“I know I still have it in me,” said Morikawa, who won both the 2020 US PGA and 2021 Open Championship on his tournament debut.

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“It sucked to finish like that at Augusta and it sucked to lose to Scottie, but what’s exciting is that, at the end of the day, I knew I had three more majors coming up and to prep for that and get things as sharp as possible and just come out strong.

“It’s obviously nice to get off to this start.”

Starting from the 10th, Morikawa birdied the 13th and 18th to reach the turn in 34 before making five consecutive birdies from the fourth.

“The little five-birdie run was me just playing solid golf and sometimes when the putts drop, that’s what happened,” he added.

“But for the most part, that’s the kind of golf I’m going to ask for myself over the next two days and 36 holes, to just stay present, hit your shots, execute them and, if the putts drop, the putts drop.”

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Belgium’s Thomas Detry lies three shots off the pace following a flawless 67 which included two birdies and an eagle on the par-five 18th.

“It was probably the perfect wind out there on 18, straight downwind,” Detry said.

“Didn’t really have to worry about the bunker or the water right. Everything was pretty straightforward. Hit a great drive and we had the perfect yardage.

“I hit a straight shot, pushed it a little bit. It probably went four or five paces further right than I wanted to, but perfect yardage and hit a really good putt. Read it well with my caddie.

“We missed a short one on 17 and I feel like that was a bit of redemption on that hole.”

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