Friday, March 6, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Rory McIlroy surges to lead with 67 at soggy PGA

PGA Championship Golf

Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, hits out of the bunker on the third hole during the second round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at Valhalla Golf Club on Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/John Locher)

By
From page B1 | August 09, 2014 |

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — 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 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.

Even so, McIlroy is dangerous when he gets in the lead, especially at a major. He learned his lesson at Augusta National in 2011 when he tried to protect a four-shot lead and wound up shooting 80. He bounced back for an eight-shot win at the U.S. Open, won the PGA Championship by a record eight shots a year later and only last month went wire-to-wire to win the third leg of the career Grand Slam at the British Open.

“My mindset has stayed the same since that day at Augusta,” McIlroy said. “If I’m two ahead going into the weekend here, I’m going to try to get three ahead. And if I’m three ahead, I’m going to try to get four ahead. … I’m just going to try to keep the pedal down and get as many ahead as possible.”

He didn’t take his first lead until the par-5 18th hole, the midway point of his round.

McIlroy blasted his driver and couldn’t quite see where it went against a cloudy sky.

“Is it good?” he asked caddie.

“Beautiful,” was all J.P. Fitzgerald said.

McIlroy hit 4-iron to the front of the green, and his eagle putt rammed into the back of the cup as if it had nowhere else to go. It was a moment where the No. 1 player in the world looked as if he had just seized control of the PGA Championship.

Except it wasn’t that easy. In sloppy conditions, McIlroy took bogey on the tough par-4 second hole, and then had to scramble for four straight pars. But on the par-5 seventh, after another big tee shot on the left side of the fairway, he hit a 5-wood over the water to 8 feet, a shot that reminded everyone why he’s the class of golf. That was one of the few putts he missed — he still made birdie — and McIlroy finished with a 15-foot birdie on the final hole.

“When he hits the driver that straight and that long, and the short game is incredible, it’s very difficult to beat him,” U.S. Open champion Martin Kaymer said. “His iron shots, they are very solid. He doesn’t miss many golf shots. So you just have to respect it a lot, how good he plays. There’s nothing wrong with his game.”

Fowler saw it during the final round at Royal Liverpool last month. He knows what kind of work is left for the guys chasing him.

It can be done. But they might need some help from McIlroy.

“He’s the best player in the world right now,” Fowler said. “And I would say a lot of that is his confidence right now with the way he’s driving the ball. If he continues to drive it, he’s going to continue to be in contention at a lot of golf tournaments and win a lot of times.”

Maybe. But the final major is only at the halfway mark.

Day has been battling injuries to his wrist ever since winning the Match Play Championship, and he was pleasantly surprised to be in the hunt at another major. He is explosive, much like McIlroy, minus the experience of winning. The Australian showed that on the final holes with a wedge to 6 feet on the 450-yard 17th hole, and a nifty up-and-down over a bunker on the 18th.

“I’m clearly not the favorite,” Day said. “It’s going to be tough to beat him. But then again, there’s a lot of great golfers behind us that are in form, as well.”

Woods had a one-shot lead over Scott Dunlap going into the weekend at Valhalla in 2000. Of the dozen players behind him that year, only Davis Love III had won a major. This leaderboard is more compelling. It even includes Phil Mickelson, who made eagle on the last hole for a 67 and was three shots behind.

It just doesn’t include Woods, who ended a sixth consecutive season without winning a major. And lately, he hasn’t even been close.

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
Random thoughts on getting older by Annabelle . . . and Susan

By Susan Winlow | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Work progresses on freeway interchange project

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A1, 4 Comments | Gallery

 
Solano College grad becomes Marvel superhero

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

Caltrans announces planned I-80 closures

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A1

 
French guitarist brings world music to The Palms

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

Bay Area Stage readies ‘Mockingbird’ production

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Let’s take a 2nd look at 1st cars

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

 
Bike to School Day poster contest begins

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

 
Free 8-week Journey Through Grief class set

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4

 
Audubon Society to hold talk on blackbird decline

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A4

Youth talent, scholarship awards dinner set

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4

 
Fairfield police log: March 4, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: March 4, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

 
SF hospital performs rare chain kidney swap

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

El niño might not be enough to help Ca drought

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
App developers take a swing at playgrounds

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Freight train carrying crude oil derails in Illinois

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Supreme Court allows for compassionate release

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Off-duty officer accidentally shoots relative

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 3 Comments

Student protests block access to campus

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
GOP legislator enters race for Boxer’s seat

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Japanese tsunami debris washing ashore

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Air Force veteran who saved orphans in Korean War dies at 97

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Father tells jury about boy’s death at Boston Marathon

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Homeowners group denies playhouse for cancer-stricken girl

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Report: Suicides by girls and young women continue to climb

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Jurors in Jodi Arias case: We were 11-1 for death penalty

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Plane skids off LaGuardia runway, slams into fence near bay

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7 | Gallery

Floods kill 42 people in Tanzania, authorities say

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Death toll in east Ukraine mine blast reaches 33

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Syria says it killed military leader of al-Qaida group

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Iraq says Islamic State militants ‘bulldozed’ ancient site

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Attack on US envoy part of S.Korea’s violent protest history

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Last Ebola patient is released in Liberia

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Companies form coalition to conserve during drought

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
.

Living

Today in History: March 6, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: March 6, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: March 6, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
.

Entertainment

Week in preview March 6-12, 2015

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Jaime Camil shines as telenovela star on ‘Jane the Virgin’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Shania Twain to launch final tour in June

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Elizabeth McCracken wins $20,000 short story prize

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Dying wish comes true: Dutch woman with ALS sees Rembrandts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Announcer Craig Sager returns from leukemia to NBA sideline

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Comedy Central’s ‘Too Many Stars’ means plenty of laughs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Review: ‘Unfinished Business’ should never have started

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Review: ‘Second Best’ Marigold Hotel lives up to its title

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Entertainment calendar: March 6, 2015

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B4

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic | From Page: B6

.

Sports

 
Maddon makes debut with Cubs in spring tie with A’s

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Hunter Pence breaks arm in Giants’ 8-6 win over Cubs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
 
Jones-Drew retires, Woodley released by Raiders

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Veteran defensive tackle Dockett joins 49ers on 2-year deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Ashley, McConnell lead No. 5 Arizona to 99-60 rout of Cal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Holmes opens 4-shot PGA lead at Blue Monster

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Local Report: Labit pitches SCC to win over Folsom Lake

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B8

Prosecutors: No criminal charge for NASCAR driver Kurt Busch

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
As NFLPA election looms, Smith hopes to keep ‘boring job’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

This date in sports history for March 6, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
.

Business

Toyota rolls out first mass-market cars to run on hydrogen fuel cells

By The Washington Post | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
Can Etsy keep its folksy brand and make shareholders money?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Applications for US jobless aid inch up to a 10-month high

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
A robust US job market is expected to keep delivering

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11, 1 Comment

Largest US banks all pass latest round of Fed ‘stress tests’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Ringling Bros. Circus to give up elephant acts in 3 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11 | Gallery

Google providing car insurance quotes in latest expansion

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
.

Obituaries

Michele Jarvis

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Robert Charles Thierry

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9