Closing bogeys foil record bids by McIlroy, Knost at Players
Third-ranked Rory McIlroy and American Colt Knost each closed with bogeys to spoil course record bids in Friday's second round of the US PGA Players Championship.
McIlroy fired an eight-under-par 64, failing to match the TPC Sawgrass mark of 63 despite opening with five birdies and an eagle in his first seven holes, while Knost missed a four-foot par putt at 18 that would have given him a 62.
"I was nervous over that last putt," Knost said. "So many great players have played this golf course, and to be the first one and only one to shoot 10-under would have been really cool."
Sweden's Jonas Blixt and Germany's Alex Cejka each fired 67s for the second day in a row to share the early clubhouse lead on 10-under 134 for 36 holes with afternoon starters still on the course.
One stroke back in the clubhouse were Knost and countryman Boo Weekley plus world number one Jason Day, the Australian afternoon starter who matched the course record with a 63 on Thursday.
Knost shares the TPC Sawgrass course record of 63 with Day, Fred Couples, Greg Norman, Roberto Castro and Martin Kaymer.
McIlroy, a four-time major champion from Northern Ireland, was in the clubhouse on 136 after firing a par 72 in his first round, rising from a share of 83rd to level sixth.
McIlroy opened round two off the 10th tee and sank a 26-foot birdie putt to start his seven-under 29 for his first nine holes, the course's back nine.
He followed with a four-foot birdie putt at the par-5 11th, a 14-footer at the 12th and then dropped his approach two feet from the cup at the par-3 13th to set up another birdie.
After a six-foot birdie putt at the 15th, McIlroy sank a 53-foot eagle putt at the par-5 16th to reach seven-under for the day and tournament.
He added seven-foot birdie putts at the par-5 second and par-4 seventh and would have matched the course record had he not missed the green with his approach at the par-5 ninth, come up on the fringe with his pitch and missed a 20-foot par putt.
Knost sizzled at the start as well, a 17-foot birdie putt at the par-3 third followed by four birdies in a row ending at the par-3 eighth. He added five birdies in seven holes in a run capped by a 13-foot birdie putt at the par-3 17th and needed only a par at 18 to break the record with a 62.
It was not to be despite reaching his 18th green in regulation. Needing a two-putt par from 40 feet, he missed a curving left-to-right effort from four feet and settled for a share of the record with a 63.
"The toughest thing to do is when you try to two-putt and that's kind of what I was thinking, which I regret," Knost said. "I wish I would have tried to make. It seems like every time you try to two-putt, you leave yourself something a little more than you want."
© 2016 AFP