Rory McIlroy was nearly flawless Friday, firing a bogey-free seven-under 65 to surge into the lead at the BMW PGA Championship.
A day after he opened with a sporty five-under 67, McIlroy was even better during soft conditions on a cloudy Friday morning at Wentworth Golf Club. He birdied 4 and 7 to take the tournament lead and added a birdie at No. 9 to turn at three-under 32.
McIlroy really turned on the jets on the back nine, going on a run starting with a birdie at the par-5 12th. After canning a 35-footer on 13, he nearly aced the par-3 14th and walked in a lengthy curler at No. 15 for four birdies in a row.
If there was any disappointment in the 65 it was that McIlroy could have finished even better: he made pars on 17 and 18, each scorable par 5s. The two holes were the only 5s on his scorecard all day.
"That was the best I've played all year," McIlroy said afterwards. The world No. 8 hasn't played at Wentworth since 2015, when he missed the cut, although he won the event in 2014. He led by two early in the afternoon Friday, with Sam Horsfield still out on the course at 10 under. Defending champion Alex Noren shared third place at seven under with Kiradech Aphirbarnrat and Robert Rock at seven under. They were all chasing the tournament favorite.
"It's nice to live up to billing," McIlroy said.