Francesco Molinari maintained his lead at the BMW PGA Championship on Friday, firing a 3-under 69 to drop to 10-under on the tournament.
His lead dropped from two strokes to one, however, as a host of players outshot him, including Korea’s Byeong Hun An, who fired a 64 ,the best score of the tournament to date, to climb up 21 spots to sit at 9-under, one stroke behind Molinari.
For the second straight day, Molinari was nails on the back nine, going 3-under, with back-to-back birdies on 17 and 18 for the second straight day. It smoothed out a day that started off roughly, as Molinari bogeyed two of the first three holes of the day.
An shot up the leader board quickly, birdying four straight holes on the front nine and finishing the day with eight birdies and no bogeys.
An wasn’t the only one climbing the charts on Friday. Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo shot a 7-under 65 to reach 8-under, and Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee fired a 6-under 66 to tie him there.
Remarkably, Grillo was just 1-under at the turn, but recorded eagles on No. 12 and No. 18 to turn that number around in a hurry.
The cut fell at 1-over, with 51 player at least one stroke under par through 36 holes. The biggest name in the field fell on the wrong side of that figure. No. 1 Rory McIlroy shot his worst round of the year, a 6-over 78 to fall to a tied for 106th at 5-over.
McIlroy was 1-over at the turn, and fell apart in an ugly stretch to start the back nine, shooting bogey, double bogey, par, bogey on 10-13.