Rory McIlroy shot a 7-under 65 to move into the second-round lead at the BMW PGA Championship on Friday.
So good was McIlroy’s bogey-free round at Wentworth that playing partner Alex Noren, the defending champion, called it “the best round I’ve ever seen.”
“I’m about to quit golf, I think,” joked Noren, whose own round of 68 left him five shots off the pace on 7 under par alongside Robert Rock and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.
McIlroy made seven birdies, including four straight from No. 12. Like in the first round, he failed to pick up any shots on the final two holes — both par fives — but the four-time major winner still described his play as up there with his best in 2018 “ball-striking-wise.”
“I had everything sort of firing today,” said the former top-ranked player, who matched his career-low score at Wentworth although the previous 65 was in 2009 before the course changes the following year.
“Every tournament is a big tournament, but the more I can play well and the more confidence I can build going into those majors the better.”
At 12 under par, McIlroy led by three shots over Englishman Sam Horsfield, who followed up a 67 with a 68. European No. 1 Tommy Fleetwood is a shot further back after making birdie on the last three holes to shoot 66.
Justin Rose leads Emiliano Grillo by one shot at Colonial
Justin Rose shot a 6-under 64 in the second round at Colonial on Friday, getting to 10 under for a one-stroke lead over Emiliano Grillo in the Fort Worth Invitational.
Rose, the 2013 U.S. Open champ who won the HSBC Champions in Shanghai in his season debut last October and has four top-10 finishes, said he played “about as good as” he has overall in a long time. The Englishman had five birdies in a seven-hole stretch in the middle of his round.
Grillo had a 67 that included six consecutive holes without a par. Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka and Satoshi Kodaira were 7 under. Koepka had a 63, and Kodaira shot 67.
Jordan Spieth, one of the locals and No. 3 in the world, was 3 under after a 68.
Kevin Kisner, the defending champ at Hogan’s Alley, was even par after a 68.
LPGA Tour: Teenager Nasa Hatoka leads at Volvik Championship
Nasa Hataoka shot a 4-under 68 on Friday, and the Japanese teenager leads by one stroke over Minjee Lee after the second round of the LPGA Volvik Championship.
Hataoka, who lost in a playoff last week in the Kingsmill Championship in Virginia, made seven birdies Friday at Travis Pointe Country Club. She began her round on No. 10, and her best stretch came toward the end, when she birdied Nos. 4, 5 and 6.
The 19-year-old Japanese player was at 9 under for the tournament. Lee (69) also was solid for a second straight day. Gaby Lopez (68), Jodi Ewart Shadoff (70) and Lindy Duncan (70) were another stroke back.