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Golf: Birdie lifts McIlroy back in front at rainy PGA

Top-ranked Rory McIlroy birdied the par-5 seventh hole to seize a one-stroke edge over clubhouse leader Ryan Palmer in the second round of the rain-hit PGA Championship.

LOUISVILLE: Top-ranked Rory McIlroy birdied the par-5 seventh hole on Friday (Aug 8) to seize a one-stroke edge over clubhouse leader Ryan Palmer in the second round of the rain-hit PGA Championship.

McIlroy, seeking his third victory in a row and second major title after capturing the British Open three weeks ago, smashed a 242-yard approach that landed eight feet from the cup. The 25-year-old Northern Ireland star, who began on the back nine, missed his eagle putt but tapped in to take the lead with only two holes remaining.

McIlroy, who won his first World Golf Championships event last week after lifting the Claret Jug, struggled early with a bogey at 12, but answered with a 12-foot birdie putt at 13 and a 16-foot birdie putt at 15.

McIlroy seized a two-stroke lead with an eagle at the par-5 18th, putting his approach short of the green but holing out from 32 feet to reach eight-under. A bogey stumble at the second by McIlroy opened the door for Palmer, an American seeking his first win since 2010 after two runner-up efforts this season.

Palmer, who began in the opening group during a heavy downpour and endured a 45-minute halt in play, finished birdie-birdie to stand on seven-under 135 after 36 holes. Britain's Lee Westwood and American Kevin Chappell, both on six-under after 65s on Thursday (Aug 7), were set for afternoon starts.

A pack on five-under included Canada's Graham DeLaet, Americans Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk, Sweden's Henrik Stenson and Italy's Edoardo Molinari. Former world number one Tiger Woods was set for an afternoon start as well, hoping to improve on an opening 74 as he fights to make the cut.

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