LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Rory McIlroy is making this PGA Championship feel like 2000 all over again at Valhalla.
Back then, it was Tiger Woods who was making the game look easy as he started to pile up majors. Now it’s McIlroy, the 25-year-old from Northern Ireland who produced superior shots with his long game and made all the right putts Friday for a 4-under 67 that gave him a one-shot lead over Jason Day and Jim Furyk.
”When I’m playing like this, it’s obviously very enjoyable,” McIlroy said. ”I can’t wait to get back out on the course again tomorrow and do the same thing all over again.”
For Woods, such feelings are becoming distant memories.
He missed two short putts early – one for birdie, one for bogey – and looked as if he should never have tried to play the final major of the year with a sore back. Two birdies on his last three holes only kept it from being worse. Woods shot another 74 and missed the cut in a major for the fourth time.
”I tried as hard as I could,” Woods said. ”That’s about all I got.”
Oddly enough, McIlroy – coming off victories at the British Open and Firestone – opened with the exact same scores (66-67) as Woods did 14 years ago at Valhalla, when he barely outlasted Bob May in a playoff for his third straight major of the season on his way to an unprecedented sweep of golf’s biggest events.
McIlroy, who was at 9-under 133, isn’t nearly at that stage. And his competition going into the weekend is a little more experienced.
Furyk, a former U.S. Open champion who was runner-up last year at the PGA, got up-and-down from behind the green on the par-5 18th for birdie and a 68. Moments earlier, Day capped off the best round of a soggy day with a birdie on the 18th for a 65. Day has three runner-up finishes in the majors.
Right behind were Ryan Palmer (70) and Rickie Fowler (66), a runner-up in the last two majors.
MEIJER LPGA CLASSIC
BELMONT, Mich. (AP) – Inbee Park took the second-round lead in the Meijer LPGA Classic, birdieing her first three holes en route to her second straight 5-under 66.
Park finished on the front nine, adding birdies on the par-5 fifth and eighth holes in her bogey-free round at Blythefield Country Club. The third-ranked South Korean player won six times last year and took the Manulife Financial in June in Canada for her 10th LPGA Tour title.
Fourth-ranked Suzann Pettersen was a stroke back. The Norwegian player matched the course record with a 64.
South Korea’s Mirim Lee also shot 64 to reach 8 under.
South Korea’s Amy Yang was fourth at 7 under after a 67.
Second-ranked Lydia Ko, the 17-year-old New Zealand player coming off a victory in the Marathon Classic in Sylvania, Ohio, was tied for fifth at 5 under after a 68. Germany’s Sandra Gal, the first-round leader, also was in the group at 5 under, following her opening 65 with a 72.
Top-ranked Stacy Lewis, a three-time winner this year, was even-par after a 72.
U.S. WOMEN’S AMATEUR
GLEN COVE, N.Y. (AP) – Canadian teen Brooke Mackenzie Henderson advanced to the U.S. Women’s Amateur semifinals, beating UCLA’s Alison Lee 1 up at Nassau Country Club.
The 16-year-old Henderson, the low amateur in the U.S. Women’s Open, ended the match with a par halve on the par-4 18th. After Henderson won the par-3 16th with a par to take a 2-up lead, the 19-year-old Lee, from Valencia, California, cut it to one with a birdie win on the par-4 17th.
Henderson, from Smith Falls, Ontario, is trying to become the third Canadian winner in tournament history, following Marlene Stewart in 1956 and Cathy Sherk in 1978.
Henderson will face 16-year-old Hannah O’Sullivan of Paradise Valley, Arizona, a 5-and-4 winner over 21-year-old former Pepperdine player Grace Na of Alameda, California.
In the other semifinal, 16-year-old Kristen Gillman of Austin, Texas, will play 15-year-old Andrea Lee of Hermosa Beach, California. Gillman rallied to beat 18-year-old Su-Hyun Oh of Australia in 20 holes, and Andrea Lee topped 14-year-old Eunjeong Seong of South Korea 2 and 1.