OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. – Rory McIlroy doesn't need fans to help him keep his head on the BMW Championship. Olympia Fields is so heavy that it allows nothing but its full attention with every shot.
McIlroy and Patrick Cantlay made their share of the mistakes on Friday and got rid of them, because that will happen in the most difficult moments. test that the PGA Tour has seen this year. By the end of another hot afternoon south of Chicago, they were the only survivors to beat par.
. A week after McIlroy admitted to running through the moves with no spectators to cheer on, he had a one-under-par 69 and shared the 36-hole lead with Cantlay.
It was tough for Tiger Woods, whose PGA Tour season looks like two rounds to be over.
Woods didn't have enough good shots to pay for his bad ones, and he had to make a 35-foot par-putt on his last hole to shoot a 75, leaving him nine shots behind. He found himself at the bottom of the pack in a tournament where he must finish around fourth to be among the top 30 advancing to the Tour Championship.
Cantlay picked up a 50-foot chip for birdie and ran from a 50-foot wedge for an eagle. He also missed the green on three of the par 3 & # 39; s, the latter leading to a double bogey. He finished with a 6-iron from the thick rough and made a 40-foot birdie-putt on the 18th hole. It added to a 68, which equates to the best score of the round.
He and McIlroy were one under 139, one shot ahead of Hideki Matsuyama and Dustin Johnson, who went in opposite directions when the time came. to sign their scorecards. Matsuyama, the only player to hit four under at any point this week, dropped four shots over his last 10 holes for a 73. Johnson finished with a birdie-birdie for 69.
The phrase "US Open" is heard a lot more this week than "FedEx Cup".
"I think the test helped me concentrate and concentrate because if you lose focus out there for a second, only one time concentration can really cost you here," said McIlroy. "I think one of the most important keys this week is just not big numbers. If you get him out of position, you have to put him back in position – make sure your worst score is a bogey and move on. Honestly. his bogeys aren't that bad here. "
McIlroy made a mistake on the 14th hole by going long and left, and only a big wedge on a five foot back pin made him a big blunder, even though he missed the par putt. He flirted later in his round on the fifth hole with a 134-meter wedge that came 30 meters short, the pin hidden behind a large bunker. He left that in the collar short of the green and went up and down for bogey.
Cantlay doesn't expect to cut with wedges twice a round and hopes he can sharpen his game a bit. Still, he likes the idea of having to think and find his way around the course.
"It's about as stiff as you'd like," he said. “It's very, very difficult, and you have to play from the fairway, and frankly, you have to play from under the hole. The greens have so many slopes that you really have to go uphill. And so when you have a hard time, it gets exponential harder to do that. ”
For those who played well – in this case, anywhere within a few shots of par – it was an enjoyable challenge. For everyone, regardless of score, it was a drag.
"I don't know if rain really matters," Kevin Kisner said after a bogey-bogey finish ruined an otherwise good day and gave him a 70, leaving him three shots behind. even in the golf tournament wins. "
Doesn't 280 always win the United States Open? That's what Arnold Palmer always said.
And this feels like a US Open.
Go back to the US Open at Shinnecock Hills two years ago and find out the last time someone more than gem average won. (Brooks Koepka). For non-majors, the tour said no one had won too high since Bruce Lietzke at the Byron Nelson Classic in 1981.
It's a huge change from last week when Johnson won with 11 shots at 30- under 254.
"Last week was fun too," said Johnson. "But this week is more of a drag, that's for sure. Every hole here is difficult. You really have to be focused on every shot that hits you."
One of those two shots behind was Louis Oosthuizen, whose birdie in the dark on the last hole last week at TPC Boston took him to # 70, qualifying for the BMW Championship.
"This is the course I needed to do what I have to do He said as he went to the top 30. Look, this could really go south on you fast. You can shoot six, seven very quickly on this golf course. But if you really stick to it and play in the middle of the greens and get behind those putts, you can make a lot of pars. And you will not lose spots if you make pars. "