Sublime finish hands Rahm share of Wentworth lead

By Michael Schmitt - 20 September 2019Views : 171

Spanish World No 6 Jon Rahm closed with a spectacular eagle to grab a share of the second-round lead at the BMW PGA Championship.

Rahm, already a winner on both sides of the Atlantic this year, started with back-to-back bogeys at Wentworth on Friday but immediately erased all the damage with a string of four straight birdies.

Another bogey followed at the 10th but the Spaniard again responded superbly with birdies at 12 and 13 before hitting his second shot to 10 feet at the par-5 18th hole and making the eagle putt to complete a round of 67.

That was good enough for a share of the 36-hole lead on 11-under-par with home favourite Danny Willett.

Willett was five-under after his first five holes and rolled in three more birdies for an impressive seven-under 65 at the European Tour's flagship event.

The duo lie two shots clear of England's World No 4 Justin Rose, former Open champion Henrik Stenson and South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout.

Bezuidenhout, who clinched his maiden European Tour title at the Andalucia Masters earlier this year, followed up an opening 68 with a bogey-free five-under 67 to join some big names near the top of the leaderboard.

Rose, who is nursing a knee injury but showed little signs of it in his play, mixed five birdies and one bogey in his 68, while Stenson made four birdies and dropped one shot for a 69.

"I guess 'beware of the injured' golfer rings true, certainly for me this week," Rose said after his round. "I'm delighted with that 68, and I didn't know where my game was coming in yesterday, and I wasn't prepared at all for the tournament.

"But sometimes you come in with low expectations because of that, and I'm very happy to put a good round together on top of yesterday's round, which is a huge result.

"This is one I'd dearly love to win," he added. "It's my home event, really, and it's one I've watched since I was a little kid.

"Its position now in the schedule is nice because I can focus on it a bit more. You get the whole FedExCup out of the way and you have a few weeks to freshen up mentally and you can really pinpoint it. I like its position now."

PGA Tour regulars Billy Horschel and Paul Casey follow two shots further back after rounds of 65 and 69 respectively.

Overnight leader Matt Wallace, meanwhile, struggled to match his opening 65, a four-over 76 dropping him down into 24th place.

Further down the leaderboard, there was good news for Rory McIlroy. The Northern Irishman was in serious danger of missing the cut after an opening 76, but needed seven strokes less on Friday to post a 69 and finish just above the cutline.