It was a shot known to high-handicap golfers, a six-iron bounced along a paved cart path. Only the guy playing it was four-time major champion
On the 592-yard, par-five 10th, his first hole of the day, McIlroy's second shot went right toward the gallery, ricocheted off the macadam cart path and rolled into rough on the 11th hole, 110 yards from the pin on No. 10.
He chose not to try to hit over a line of trees, instead choosing the low route, down the cart path. The ball bounced out of a bunker and across the green into the fringe, from where McIlroy two-putted for a par
"I got a little unlucky when my second shot hit the cart path," he said, "It [the third] was the only option I had. I said, 'OK, I'll bounce it up and see where it goes.' Luckily it got out of the bunker and on to the other side.
"That could have been a six or seven quite easily. So, to actually get away with a five, I actually felt pretty good about myself going to the next tee."
McIlroy ended up with his second straight one-over par 72.
Quail Hollow the toughest
"For the most part," said Fowler, who grew up in Murrieta, "if you look at the majors, this is probably the hardest test we've had this year. That's saying something. Birkdale [the British Open venue] is a pretty special place. But [Quail Hollow], with the greens drying out and the rough up you can't miss your lines by very much and get away with it."
It took Phil Mickelson 31 holes to make his first birdie of the tournament, sinking a putt for a two on the 184-yard fourth, his 13th hole of the day. After following that with a bogey and double bogey, Mickelson made two more birdies. He shot a two-over 74 and finished 11 over, not close to making the cut.
Mickelson, 47, had played well at Quail Hollow when the Wells Fargo tournament was played here. "But it's a different course than we've played in the past," he said. "One of the reasons I've played so well is there was no rough. Here there is severe rough. Coupled with the fact that I hit the ball above the hole most of the time. That's a bad combination.
"I'm not searching. It's not like I'm hitting the ball crooked. I'm just hitting it in the wrong spots."
Club pro makes cut
Omar Uresti played in 350 events as a member of the
Brian Gaffney in 2015 at Whistling Straits was the only club pro to make the cut the last six years. Uresti, of Texas, never qualified for the PGA Championship while on Tour.
Na gets hot, too late
Kevin Na had a stretch of five birdies in six holes and shot 69, which was 10 strokes better than Thursday, but his six-over total of 148 missed the cut.
Defending champion Jimmy Walker followed his 81 with a 69, also missing the cut.
Among others who won't be around for the weekend: