Rory McIlroy refused to throw in the towel, keeping his US PGA hopes alive and re-booting his season with a gutsy finish at a soggy Oak Hill.
The struggling world No 3 was heading for back-to-back missed cuts in majors when he crashed to five over for his second round with just eight holes to play. But as the rains eased, he dug deep and roared home in 32 thanks to four birdies in a six-hole stretch.
Accused to giving up in the past, McIlroy was proud to hang tough this time, confessing: “I was just being more positive. It’s all about attitude more than anything else and not getting too down on myself.”
He was still seven shots behind early leader Adam Scott on level par but vowed to come out blasting today after survivng a rain-lashed, second round scare.
Rory said: “I get off to a fast start tomorrow and I’m right there. So it’s giving me a nice bit of momentum going into tomorrow.”
Jason Dufner later shot a 63 to equal the lowest round in major championship history and lead at halfway on nine under par. He had a 15 foot putt to break the record first set by Johnny Miller at Oakmont in the 1963 US Open, 40 years ago but instead lead by two strokes from Masters champion Adam Scott (68), Matt Kuchar (66) and Jim Furyk (68) with US Open champion Justin Rose (66) and Open championship runner up Henrik Stenson (66) just three behind on six under.
Graeme McDowell shot 69 to lead the Irish challenge in 22nd palce on one under with McIlroy tied 28th on level, Shane Lowry (70) tied with the likes of Tiger Woods on one over in joint 38th and Darren Clarke (73) back in 50th on two over. The cut fell at three over par which meant an early exit for Padraig Harrington, who missed by four shots on seven over after rounds of 76 and 71.
- Dufner’s 63 ties the best score ever shot in a major. It has now been done 26 times between all four majors- 2/Masters, 4/U.S. Open, 8/Open Championship, 12/PGA Championship.
- The last player to shoot a 63 in a major was Steve Stricker at the 2011 PGA Championship. Sticker and Dufner were paired together during the first two rounds this week.
- Dufner broke the Oak Hill Country Club course record with a 63 in the second round. The competitive course record of 64 on the East Course at Oak Hill was held by Ben Hogan (1942 Rochester Open), Curtis Strange (1989 U.S. Open) and Webb Simpson (2013 PGA Championship).