Friday, August 8

Rory and Rain Dominate at PGA Championship

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - It was raining steadily when I caught up with Rory McIlroy, Bubba Watson and Martin Kaymer on the par-5 18th hole at Valhalla Golf Club. Bubba had drifted right off the tee. Kaymer and McIlroy were in the fairway, down the left-hand side, with Rory up ahead.

Bubba laid up. Kaymer hit into the bunker fronting the green.

Wearing a shirt and cap that matched the gray skies overhead, Rory swatted an iron that landed on the front of the green. A few moments later he firmly rapped his putt up the incline. The ball rolled into the cup for an eagle. That dramatic 3 produced a loud roar and gave McIlroy the outright lead at 8 under par through his first nine holes of the second round.

At the 1st hole, Watson again hit a wayward tee shot, this time in the trees to the left of the fairway. McIlroy was in perfect position, and wedged his approach shot to inside 10 feet. He rimmed out his birdie putt.

Rory dropped a shot at the 2nd, and parred the next four holes. Then a spurt that produced two birdies in the last three holes. He finished with a 67.

McIlroy, 9 under through 36 holes, is the clubhouse leader in the mid-afternoon on Friday.

Ryan Palmer Overcomes Rainy Day

The rain has stopped this afternoon, but the course was taking on a lot of water early. I spotted the squeegee crew this morning on the 10th tee.

When first-round co-leader Ryan Palmer began his second round early this morning, he said visibility was limited and the 10th green (he started on the back nine) had so much standing water that he was unable to putt.

"Ended up sitting up there for 45 minutes in the tower with the volunteers taking pictures of all the water," he said.

Palmer, 37, a three-time PGA Tour winner who is ranked 63rd in the world, is playing in his eighth PGA Championship. His best finish was a tie for 19th in 2010. He was pleased with his 1-under 70, which puts him at 7 under at the midpoint of the championship.

"I was glad to shoot under par," Palmer said. "That's all you could ask for today."

What's it like to be at the top of the leaderboard in the PGA Championship?

"The mind wanders when you get up there and see your name and you start thinking about it," Palmer said. "I've been very good to quickly correct myself and say, no, this shot, quit doing that and just go hit this one shot.

"All I can do is come out and keep doing what I've been doing. I have a pretty good track record when I've played well on Thursday and Friday coming into the weekend."

Scattered showers and storms are expected to continue into the weekend.

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