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Saturday 3 December 2016

McIlroy: I didn't take my chance

Rory McIlroy hits to the 10th hole during the second round of the US PGA Championship golf tournament at Whistling Straits in Haven, Wisconsin yesterday.
Rory McIlroy hits to the 10th hole during the second round of the US PGA Championship golf tournament at Whistling Straits in Haven, Wisconsin yesterday.

Defending champion Rory McIlroy admitted he was "a little bit annoyed" at failing to take advantage of perfect conditions in the second round of the US PGA Championship yesterday.

On a day when Japan's Hiroshi Iwata equalled the lowest score in major history with a 63 and playing partner Jordan Spieth shot 67, McIlroy had to settle for a second consecutive 71 at Whistling Straits.

Playing his first tournament since the US Open in June after seven weeks out due to an ankle ligament injury, McIlroy made amends for a double bogey on the 18th by chipping in for eagle on the second and also carded two birdies and one bogey.

Sharp

"I felt like tee to green I hit the ball pretty well, I'm probably just not as sharp with the short game as I would like to be," the world number one said. "It was good to get the two shots back that I dropped on 18 and I gave myself good chances on the third and fifth, but did not take them.

"There's plenty of chances out there and if I can convert a few hopefully there is a low score in me.

"I felt like I played better than what the score reflected. A little bit annoyed. I felt like I should have got that ball up and down on seven and then I had a great chance on eight for birdie and didn't take that. A couple of days in a row where I haven't finished the round of golf the way I wanted to.

"I don't know if it's rust or I just didn't putt well, so maybe just work on that a little bit before I tee off tomorrow and it would be great to hole a few more putts, because I feel like I'm giving myself plenty of chances.

"Probably one of the most surprising things about yesterday is how quickly I got back into the mindset of tournament golf and being aggressive. That hasn't really been an issue, it's just being a bit more efficient, whenever you give yourself chances, take them, and be able to get it up and down when you put yourself out of position."

Meanwhile, Dustin Johnson admitted an opening 66 in the US PGA Championship was as easy as he made it look, but the hard part will be converting that into an overdue first major title after numerous near misses.

Johnson carded an eagle, five birdies and a solitary bogey to lead a major championship for the fifth time this year, setting a testing six-under-par clubhouse target that none of the afternoon starters could match due to a strengthening wind.

Sweden's David Lingmerth briefly caught Johnson after 14 holes but three-putted the next and had to settle for an impressive 67, one shot ahead of a group of seven players which included Australian Jason Day and Matt Kuchar of the United States.

Meanwhile, Irish pair Shane Lowry and Pádraig Harrington were way down the field, tied on 147 each after the second round.

Lowry, fresh from his WGC Bridgestone Invitational success last week carded a 69 on the second day's play, while Harrington fared less well with a 71.

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