Kisner sets halfway pace as McIlroy finds going tough


The 33-year-old from South Carolina set an imposing clubhouse target at the PGA Championship on eight-under 134, while the likes of Rory McIlroy failed to make inroads, the former world number one flirting with the cut line before carding a second straight one-over 72.

Kisner, who shared the first round lead with Dane Thorbjorn Olesen, picked up where he left off Thursay evening, hitting 15 of 18 greens in regulation to make three birdies and an audacious eagle on the seventh, where he holed a monster putt.

A single bogey on the 13th was the only blemish on his card and Kisner, who claimed the prestigious Colonial title, combined with two other runner-up spots on the PGA this season, feels he is on a roll.

“I’m hitting the ball really nice and things are going my way,” he told the official PGA Tour website. “Hitting the fairway here is the key and I’m making a lot of putts.”

While Kisner prospered, McIlroy’s bid for a fifth major title foundered as he dropped four shots in the space of five holes having moved into contention on his front nine.

In danger of missing the halfway cut for the fourth time in seven majors, the Northern Irishman battled back with two straight birdies and nearly made it a hat-trick when his putt on his final hole teetered on the cup but did not drop.

Despite trailing the leader by 10 shots, McIlroy still feels he is in with a chance of victory in the final major of the season.

“Obviously Kis (Kisner) is on fire right now. But take him out of the equation, I feel like I’m still right here in the tournament,” he told the UK’s Press Association.

But having shot previous rounds of 61 and 62 at the course in North Carolina, McIlroy conceded that the revamped 7,600-yard layout was a very different proposition. “It surprised me,” the 28-year-old admitted. “I’m not surprised to see so many guys over par.”

The new Quail Hollow has certainly proved too tough a test for some of golf’s elite, with Phil Mickelson the most notable victim in his 100th appearance at a major championship.

After his first round 79, “leftie” was always struggling to make the cut and a three-over 74 sealed his fate, with the five-time major winner failing to make a birdie until his 31st hole.

It It is the first time the 47-year-old has failed to make the weekend play at the PGA Championship for 22 years.

“Its not like I’m hitting the ball crooked, I’m just hitting it in the wrong spots,” was Mickelson’s verdict on his performance.

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Defending champion Jimmy Walker also missed out, bravely following a disastrous first round 81 with a battling two-under 69, but still way outside the projected cut mark of four over.

At the other end of the leaderboard, ever popular Rickie Fowler was the closest challenger of the early starters to Kisner’s lead, posting a second round 70 to move to three-under-par 139 as he seeks his first major crown.

Jordan Spieth, chasing the career grand slam after his British Open triumph last month, was among the later starters, looking to improve on his first round 72, while Olesen hoped to match his first round 67.



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