VIRGINIA WATER, England (AP) — Rory McIlory was one of five 2012 European Ryder Cup players to miss the cut Friday in the BMW PGA Championship, while Medinah teammate Francesco Molinari took the lead at cold and wet Wentworth.
The second-ranked McIlory had a 3-over 75 to finish at 5 over. Two-time defending champion Luke Donald, Ian Poulter, Graeme McDowell and Paul Lawrie — all members of Europe’s winning team last year at Medinah — also dropped out early. Molinari put himself in position for his fourth European Tour title, shooting a 68 to take a one-stroke lead at 6 under.
“I am really happy with my two days and while the conditions were quite tough, I’m hitting the ball well off the tee, and the putter is also working well,” the Italian said.
South Africa’s George Coetzee, Scotland’s Marc Warren, England’s Mark Foster and Spain’s Alejandro Canizares were tied for second. Foster had a 69, and Coetzee, Warren and Canizares shot 70.
Sergio Garcia, the Spanish player whose verbal sparring with Tiger Woods turned ugly this week when he said he would “serve fried chicken” if he had dinner with Woods, was five strokes back after a 71.
McIlroy hit only four fairways in the second round, a roller-coaster front nine of four birdies but also five bogeys. He parred the next seven holes, made a double bogey on the 17th after driving out of bounds, and closed with a two-putt birdie.
“It was just a tough day and I didn’t get off to the best start to be 2 over through three,” said McIlroy, who also missed the cut last year. “I did manage a couple of birdies to get back to level but it was a grind. I was missing a lot of greens and couldn’t really give myself many chances to make any shots back and obviously try to get into the weekend.”
McIlroy was undecided as to whether to travel to Paris to see his girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki prepare for the French Open or travel to Monte Carlo for the Monaco Grand Prix auto race.
Donald had a 72 to finish at 6.
“Even for England this weather is pretty unseasonal and it made the course play very tough because the last couple of years it’s been very warm and the ball has travelled a lot,” Donald said. “I was 9 over through 21 holes playing pretty terrible golf, really.”
Poulter was 8 over after a 76.
“I’m fine. I’m fine,” Poulter said. “Don’t worry about me as I will be posting some good scores again, soon.”
Lawrie was 3 over after a 72, and McDowell 5 over after a 75. In his last five events, McDowell missed the cut in the Masters, won the RBC Heritage, missed the cut in The Players Championship, won the Volvo Match Play Championship and missed cut in the BMW PGA.
“My next tournament is the U.S. Open and I would say my preparation is perfect,” he said, laughing.