Tracker: McIlroy leads PGA Championship

Rory McIlroy hits out of a bunker on the 12th hole during his second round at the PGA Championship.

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Lee Westwood, surely somewhere in the conversation for the ignominious honor of "best to never win a major," began Friday at the PGA Championship among three co-leaders ahead by a shot before red-hot Rory McIlroy passed them in the afternoon.

McIlroy's morning 67 got him into the lead at 9 under while overnight co-leader Ryan Palmer shot 70 to head in at 7 under. Westwood, Kevin Chappell and others are taking aim at McIlroy this afternoon amid soft conditions at Valhalla.

Tiger Woods, meanwhile, has missed the cut with his second-straight 74.

We'll follow the highlights all day in Louisville, Ky., – and be sure to scroll down for our pre-tournament coverage:

• • •

Update #22: 8:11 p.m. EDT

Let's check in on the top players in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings at this week's PGA Championship:

  • 1. Jim Furyk: T-2 at 8 under (68)
  • 2. Adam Scott: T-6 at 2 under (69)
  • 3. Sergio Garcia: T-52, even par (72)
  • 4. Rory McIlroy: Leader, 9 under (67)
  • 6. Justin Rose: T-52, even par (72)
  • 7. Jason Day: T-2, 8 under (65)
  • 8. Steve Stricker: T-9, 5 under (68)
  • 9. Henrik Stenson: T-9, 5 under (71)
  • 10. Jordan Spieth: Missed cut, 6 over (77)

• • •

Update #21: 7:58 p.m. EDT

Birdies at Nos. 17-18 close out a 68 that lifts Jim Furyk to T-2 at 8 under alongside Jason Day, one shot back of leader Rory McIlroy. Furyk has 11 top-20 finishes or better in his last 12 starts. His record in majors: T-14 at the Masters, T-12 at the U.S. Open and fourth at the Open Championship at Hoylake.

• • •

Update #20: 7:44 p.m. EDT

Bogeys at Nos. 12 and 15 have dropped Mikko Ilonen to 5 under and T-8.

Phil Mickelson says a big part of his round was a late par: "I was kind of losing some energy there late in the round, and the par putt at 16 got me to really fight hard those last couple of holes, rather than let the round slide after I'd just made a bogey on 15," he tells TNT. "… It's been a rough year for me this year, and my game finally came back. I finally started to feel confident around the Scottish and the British a month ago, and I feel like this is the first tournament this year I entered feeling like I was ready and prepared."

• • •

Update #19: 7:36 p.m. EDT

Jim Furyk birdies the 17th to move to T-3 at 7 under, two back of leader Rory McIlroy.

Jason Day says of moving into second place, "McIlroy's obviously the favorite, so I'm trying to get my first major and that's the guy that I have to beat right now. And obviously, there's a lot of great players who are in form right now, chasing us too." He also tells TNT that his thumb is not completely healed but it's not an excuse either.

• • •

Update #18: 7:31 p.m. EDT

Phil Mickelson has had a solid day today, now looking to cap it with an eagle – from inside 10 feet, the putt is on the money. He will sign for a 67 that moves him to 6 under, good for T-5 as he heads in.

• • •

Tiger Tracker

Hole No. 18: Par 4, 472 yards

There were questions whether Tiger Woods could finish this round, but he's reached the final tee for the week.

On the tee: Fairway here, as Tiger's tee game has been steadier since he dialed things back a bit.

• On the approach: At the shortest par 5 of the day, Tiger takes a long iron and gets it pin high – but misses the green left and is short-sided.

• Around the green: Tiger putts this one up the slope and taps in for birdie.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 3-over 74; missed cut at 6 over.

• Elsewhere on the course: Jason Day gets close to the par-5 18th green in two, needing a solid chip over the bunker in front to give himself an uphill birdie putt. That one's good and it pulls him to second alone at 8 under as heads in to sign for a 65 – he's one back of leader Rory McIlroy.

Then there's Phil Mickelson. He rips his second shot right onto the middle of the 18th green and close enough to call this a good look at eagle.

• • •

Hole No. 17: Par 4, 472 yards

Giving back his lone birdie of the day, Tiger Woods' bogey there ends a streak of eight holes of par or better. Playing for repetitions at this point, you'd think.

On the tee: Safely in the fairway again. At least the shorter swing is keeping his ball in play.

• From the fairway: This one comes up short, a common theme today, and it's chipping time again for Tiger.

• Around the green: Tiger chips to about 8 feet past and makes the comebacker for another par.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 4 over; T-125 at 7 over, six shots outside projected cut.

Elsewhere on the course: Jason Day fires his approach close at the 17th and sinks the putt to return to T-2 at 7 under, two back of Rory McIlroy's lead with the par-5 18th left to play.

• • •

Hole No. 16: Par 4, 508 yards

Persistence has paid off for Tiger Woods with a birdie after seen straight pars today. Might it be rewarded with a captain's pick for the Ryder Cup if his play under trying circumstances today can keep showing positives?

On the tee: Right edge of the fairway here as Tiger pulls up kind of awkwardly after his swing.

• From the fairway: Short here, but on line with the pin. Plenty of green to work with for an up-and-down.

Around the green: Good pitch here gets Tiger to 5 feet or so, and he pulls the putt. Tap-in bogey.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 4 over; T-125 at 7 over, six shots outside projected cut.

• Elsewhere on the course: Mikko Ilonen makes four straight birdies around the turn to pull within two of leader Rory McIlroy. At the 12th, he faces a long par putt to stay there but it grazes the edge and he'll drop back to T-3 at 6 under.

• • •

Hole No. 15: Par 4, 435 yards

Seven straight pars don't have Tiger Woods happy as he's closing out a missed cut.

On the tee: Right side of the fairway, the backswing again shortened by Tiger.

• On the approach: Tiger has hit several shots pin high today, and here's another one to 10 feet or perhaps better. Gotta find that putter.

• On the green: Done. Tiger makes his first birdie putt of the day, right in the heart.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 3 over; T-122 at 6 over, five shots outside projected cut.

Elsewhere on the course: Jason Day has five straight pars since the turn, his charge toward leader Rory McIlroy stagnating. Day then bogeys the 15th to slip to T-3 at 6 under, leaving Ryan Palmer alone in second and two shots behind McIlroy.

Colin Montgomerie not only makes the cut, he birdies the last to get an extra shot inside the projected line at even par.

Padraig Harrington makes a long birdie putt at the 15th to move to 2 over, still needing some more help to make the cut. Phil Mickelson bogeys the 15th and drops back to T-12 at 4 under.

• • •

Hole No. 14: Par 3, 217 yards

Another disappointing short putt by Tiger Woods might have been the final nail in the coffin regarding his chances of playing the weekend; with five holes to play, he's six shots outside the projected cut. By the way, Tiger's string of six straight pars has coincided with play slowing down in front of his group; could it be a factor in his ability to play better?

On the tee: Solid shot here, short and left of the pin but inside 20 feet for a reasonable birdie look.

• On the green: This one runs well past, another opportunity getting away. Tiger makes about a 5-footer for his seventh straight par.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 4 over; T-124 at 7 over, six shots outside projected cut.

Elsewhere on the course: Phil Mickelson makes a long birdie putt at the 14th to climb to T-6 at 5 under. He's 3 under today and sporting a game face.

At the 15th hole, Lee Westwood hits it in the water for the second time in three holes; once within a shot of leader Rory McIlroy, Westwood is moving the wrong way and makes a bogey putt to limit the damage in slipping to 5 under.

Hideki Matsuyama needs an eagle putt at the 18th to get to the good side of the projected cut – and sinks it. He's 1 over, which is expected to play the weekend.

• • •

Hole No. 13: Par 4, 350 yards

Just past the midpoint of the front nine, Tiger Woods was showing signs of another possible WD. Nearing near the midpoint of the back nine, Woods has five straight pars to his name; the cut doesn't seem within reach, but he could be showing the kind of fight that would some respect from U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson.

On the tee: If Tiger's playing his way through pain, the short nature of this par 4 should show a little mercy. He takes iron and finds the right-center of the fairway.

From the fairway: Tiger again hits one close. Can this finally lead to his first birdie?

• On the green: If that last par putt can provide any momentum, Tiger needs it here on this short birdie try. It drifts right almost immediately, however, and he taps in for a sixth straight par.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 4 over; T-122 at 7 over, six shots outside projected cut.

Elsewhere on the course: Lee Westwood double bogeys the 13th after hitting his second shot in the water; he drops to T-5 at 6 under.

Phil Mickelson has two pars in a row after birdies at Nos. 7, 9 and 10 lifted him to T-12 at 4 under. Mickelson might be able to make the U.S. Ryder Cup team without a captain's pick, at this rate.

• • •

Hole No. 12: Par 4, 467 yards

That's four straight pars now for Tiger Woods. Could a rain delay help him avoid his second WD in as many weeks, or can he simply keep going and complete the round?

On the tee: Fairway wood to the fairway for Tiger here.

• From the fairway: Short of the pin and right again, this time finding a bunker.

Around the green: The sand shot flies past the pin but stops quickly enough, yet it's going to be a longer par putt than most would like to face. Call it about 10 feet, maybe more, as Tiger takes a good look. He sinks it, clearly his best putt of the day.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 4 over; T-125 at 7 over, six shots outside projected cut.

Elsewhere on the course: Let's reset the top of the leaderboard, with several of the afternoon's best players on a bit of a par binge. At 9 under, Rory McIlroy leads by one over Lee Westwood; Jason Day, Jim Furyk (after a bogey at the 10th) and Ryan Palmer are another shot back. Rickie Fowler is sixth at 6 under, with five players T-7 at 5 under.

• • •

Hole No. 11: Par 3, 210 yards

Perhaps things are smoothing out for Tiger Woods, with three straight pars now – albeit with a swing that at times has been shortened. By the way, the rain is picking up again.

On the tee: Short and right, near Padraig Harrington's ball. Not a bad place to chip from.

• Around the green: Good chip to about 2 feet or so, leaving himself an uphill par try. He makes that.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 4 over; T-125 at 7 over, six shots outside projected cut.

• Elsewhere on the course: Victor Dubuisson birdies No. 10 and follows with a par to rise to T-7 at 5 under.

• • •

Hole No. 10: Par 5, 590 yards

Lacking a birdie today, Tiger Woods makes the turn – showing signs of pain, he keeps teeing it up and grinding it out.

On the tee: Another short backswing; Tiger misses right and is in the gallery.

• On the approach: Tiger's second shot intended as a recovery, goes through the fairway to the left rough. His third is short and right in the first cut.

• Around the green: A good short pitch gets Tiger to makeable range, and he raps it in for another par.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 4 over; T-125 at 7 over, six shots outside projected cut.

Elsewhere on the course: Back-to-back birdies after the turn lift Rickie Fowler to sixth at 6 under, three back of leader Rory McIlroy.

Lee Westwood birdies No. 10 and Jim Furyk birdies No. 7 to rise to 8 under, the two pulling within a shot of leader Rory McIlroy.

• • •

Hole No. 9: Par 4, 415 yards

Par is never a bad thing, especially after a double bogey and a bogey. But it doesn't look like nearly enough to get Tiger Woods, possibly ailing, to the weekend.

On the tee: Three-quarter backswing here for Tiger as he finds the fairway.

• From the fairway: Pin high and inside 10 feet, Tiger's got another chance for his first birdie of the day. No wince or grimace, just a dropped head.

• On the green: Close but no cigar again. It slides past on the right edge and Tiger taps in, then slowly and carefully retrieves his ball.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 4 over; T-127 at 7 over, six shots outside projected cut.

Elsewhere on the course: Rickie Fowler bogeys No. 9 to drop to T-10 at 4 under.

Angel Cabrera withdraws with a shoulder injury. Cabrera was 4 over Friday, 15 over after opening with 82.

• • •

Hole No. 8: Par 3, 174 yards

As Tiger Woods shows signs of returned back pain, the question turns from whether his game is fit to whether his body is.

On the tee: Middle of the green and no obvious ill effects after that swing.

• On the green: From inside 20 feet, Tiger rolls this one well but misses a few inches left. He taps in for par.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 4 over; T-127 at 7 over, six shots outside projected cut.

Elsewhere on the course: Jason Day is charging ahead, birdieing No. 8 after his eagle a hole earlier to move to T-2 at 7 under, two back of leader Rory McIlroy.

• • •

Hole No. 7: Par 5, 597 yards

If the pressure wasn't on Tiger Woods before that disastrous result at the sixth, it sure is now.

On the tee: Driver, one-hand finish and the left-side gallery moving back as Tiger again misses badly.

• On the approach: From the wrong side of a berm, Tiger punches out of some soggy ground and back to the fairway. His third shot is left and long, as he grimaces and kicks up his leg after making an otherwise good-looking swing. Seems he's in pain.

• Around the green: Tiger's pitch stops just short of the green's edge and he's moving gingerly. He chips it close and makes a short bogey putt.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 4 over; at 7 over, Woods is six shots outside projected cut.

Elsewhere on the course: Jim Furyk follows his birdie at No. 3 with another at No. 4 and then a par; he's T-2 at 7 under alongside Lee Westwood and Ryan Palmer, two back of leader Rory McIlroy.

Jason Day eagles No. 7 to move to fifth at 6 under.

• • •

Hole No. 6: Par 4, 495 yards

With a textbook par finally under his belt, the question becomes whether it's a sign Tiger Woods is warming up or if it's just a wobble for the better.

On the tee: Fairway wood doesn't live up to its name here, as Tiger misses well left.

• On the approach: Tough stance here with the ball well above his feet, reminiscent of that lie that led to injury last week, but Tiger gets it near the green – short of the pin and left of the left-side bunker.

• Around the green: Good, high pitch here – Tiger lands it about a grip's length from the hole and it rolls out several feet; call it about 12 or so. The stakes feel high on this putt – four shots outside the cutline with 12 holes to play would be a tall order. This one moves off line early and runs past; he marks, waits and lips out the short comebacker before tapping in for double bogey.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 3 over; T-117 at 6 over, five shots outside projected cut.

Elsewhere on the course: With birdies at Nos. 2 and 4, Jason Day is 2 under through five holes to climb to T-10 at 4 under.

Phil Mickelson steadies himself with a par at the fifth after having bogeyed the fourth to slip to T-32 at 1 under, just two shots inside the projected cut.

Rickie Fowler has four birdies in five holes, the other being a bogey, as he rises to T-5 at 5 under.

• • •

Hole No. 5: Par 4, 463 yards

Probably not a darkest-before-dawn situation, but with two bad shots and a poor putt, that bogey has to hurt Tiger Woods' outlook. Good form with the short stick is the biggest missing ingredient right now, but everything's been inconsistent. He's got to come up with an answer soon.

On the tee: Middle of the fairway here for Tiger. That's something.

• From the fairway: Until now, Tiger's only green in regulation came at the par-3 third. This makes his second, though left and long enough that his birdie try will be a sizable one.

On the green: Probably Tiger's best combination of speed and direction so far, but it slips past and he taps in for par.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over; three shots outside projected cut.

Elsewhere on the course: Jim Furyk birdies the third hole to climb to T-4 at 6 under.

• • •

Hole No. 4: Par 4, 372 yards

A chance for optimism in Tiger Woods' mind has been lost, but he's shown ability so far – it's consistency he's lacking.

On the tee: Fairway bunker. Tiger's only hit one of his first three fairways.

• On the approach: From a good lie, thanks to some proper raking earlier (everyone pay it forward and rake up after yourselves, OK?), Tiger gets sand first with his second shot and comes up well short of the green, even spinning back off the fairway cut in front. His pitch on is much truer, rolling a few feet past the pin.

• On the green: Short downhiller for par here, and it misses low. So much for that shot the cutline had moved in his direction earlier.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 over; three shots outside projected cut.

Elsewhere on the course: Rickie Fowler birdies the fifth hole for his second in a row as he rises to T-10 at 4 under.

• • •

Hole No. 3: Par 3, 205 yards

Good break for Tiger Woods as the projected cut moves a shot in his direction. But he'll need to add some work of his own as well.

On the tee: Looking for his first GIR, Tiger is dead on line with this one and it rolls inside 5 feet.

• On the green: Lip out. Tiger's putt looked good, but perhaps had just a little too much steam on it. He taps in for par and a missed opportunity.

TIGER ON THE DAY: Even par; 3 over, two shots outside projected cut.

Elsewhere on the course: A birdie at No. 3 moves Lee Westwood under par for the day and to T-2 at 7 under, two back of leader Rory McIlroy. He lips out another birdie try at No. 4 and taps in for par.

• • •

Hole No. 2: Par 4, 500 yards

A scrambling par has Tiger Woods no worse for the wear although his form might have reflected the fact he didn't arrive at the course much more than an hour before his tee time.

On the tee: Driver down the middle. How consistently Tiger can do that today might speak volumes for his ability to get to the weekend.

• From the fairway: Tiger misses the green right and has a makeable chip.

• Around the green: How do we know Tiger's chip can be made? Lee Westwood did so just a few moments ago from nearly this spot (next bulleted item). But Tiger's try drifts low and he's left with a tap-in for par. He remains 12 back of leader Rory McIlroy, but he gains a shot on the projected cutline as it drifts back to 1 over.

TIGER ON THE DAY: Even par; 3 over, two shots outside projected cut.

Elsewhere on the course: You want to talk scrambling? Lee Westwood hit his second shot into the hazard at the par-4 No. 2 hole; he played it out and missed the green, then chipped in for par. He's still 6 under.

Phil Mickelson starts his day with a two-putt par, after having driven it in the left rough, to remain 2 under.

• • •

Hole No. 1: Par 4, 446 yards

Here goes Tiger Woods, starting his second round three shots outside the projected cut just as the leader wraps up his day.

• On the tee: This one starts left and finds the rough.

• On the approach: Tree trouble here; Tiger gets it through but into a greenside bunker.

Around the green: Nice bunker shot gets Tiger inside 5 feet and he converts the sand save.

TIGER ON THE DAY: Even par; 3 over, three shots outside cut.

• Elsewhere on the course: Lee Westwood pars No. 1 to remain 6 under, two back of leader Rory McIlroy.

McIlroy, for that matter, ends with a birdie to move one more shot ahead at 9 under. That's a 67 in wet conditions with two birdies in his last three holes.

"The ball's not really running anywhere when it hits the ground," McIlroy told TNT. "… Hitting the ball well for the most part. Didn't hit it quite as well today as I did yesterday, but still really in control of my game and my emotions, and I'll need to do that over the weekend as well."

• • •

Tour Tracker

Update #17: 2:24 p.m. EDT

Leader Rory McIlroy nearly doubles his margin with a birdie at No. 8, but the putt just slides past. He settles for par to remain 8 under, a shot ahead of Ryan Palmer.

A nicely spun chip from in front of the ninth green enables Steve Stricker to end his round with a par and head in T-5 at 5 under. Henrik Stenson falls to that mark with a bogey at No. 8.

Tom Watson's week ends with a par as he heads in at 3 over, three shots outside the projected cut. The U.S. Ryder Cup captain received quite the round of applause from the gallery as he walked up the fairway.

• • •

Update #16: 2:19 p.m. EDT

Bubba Watson gets a needed birdie at No. 7 to move to even par, where the cut line resides. But the news isn't as good for Martin Kaymer – who double bogeys the hole to drop to 2 over.

Vijay Singh birdies the 18th to end his first two rounds at 3 under; he'll play the weekend.

First-round co-leader Lee Westwood tees off at No. 1, finding the middle of the fairway; he might have something to say about Rory McIlroy's lead. Another overnight co-leader, Kevin Chappell, won't be far behind on No. 10 either.

• • •

Update #15: 2:09 p.m. EDT

Henrik Stenson pulls within a shot of the lead with a birdie at No. 7 to rise to 6 under, but his gain doesn't seem destined to last long.

Rory McIlroy, looking at less than 10 feet for eagle, doesn't have it on the right line but taps in for birdie to move to 8 under, a shot ahead of Ryan Palmer and two ahead of Stenson.

• • •

Update #14: 2:03 p.m. EDT

Co-leader Rory McIlroy pipes it down the shorter split fairway at the par-5 seventh hole, as he did yesterday – today nailing his second shot again, hitting fairway wood to inside 10 feet. Eagle try coming up.

A par at the seventh has Kenny Perry looking good to play the weekend, as he's 1 under with two to play and the cutline is at even par. A birdie would probably give him some ease of mind.

• • •

Update #13: 1:48 p.m. EDT

Co-leader Rory McIlroy nabs his fourth straight par and remains 7 under, tied for the lead with Ryan Palmer with three to play.

Bubba Watson bogeys the par-4 sixth hole and falls to 1 over, with the projected cut at even par. Work to do for the reigning Masters champ.

Steve Stricker gets on the par-5 seventh hole in three and two-putts for a par to remain 5 under, two back of the co-leaders.

• • •

Update #12: 1:41 p.m. EDT

Ryan Palmer grabs a share of the lead with a birdie at the last for a 1-under 70. Rory McIlroy remains tied for the lead with three straight pars under his belt and four holes to play.

Tiger Woods has arrived at Valhalla, with his tee time set for just less than an hour away.

• • •

Update #11: 1:12 p.m. EDT

Not only is veteran Steve Stricker playing well – 3 under thru 14 holes – but 51-year-old Vijay Singh has catapulted up the leaderboard, moving to T-9 by going 4 under through 14 holes.

• • •

Update #10: 12:50 p.m. EDT

Rory McIlroy gives one back with a bogey at the par-4 second hole, but remains one ahead of both Lee Westwood and Kevin Chappell, who have yet to tee off.

Ryan Palmer and Steve Stricker both drop back by a shot and are at 5 under.

• • •

Update #9: 12:17 p.m. EDT

While much of the focus is on those going low (Rory McIlroy, Steve Stricker, Ryan Moore), there are some that have not been able to take advantage of the soft conditions. After an even-par 71 to start the PGA, Scott Stallings is 8 over through 12 holes today, including two double bogeys in his first three holes.

• • •

Update #8: 12:06 p.m. EDT

Rory McIlroy eagles the par-5 18th to jump into the solo lead at 8 under, two ahead of four players. McIlroy has won his last two starts, the Open Championship and WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

Meanwhile, Kiradech Aphibarnrat withdraws after eight holes on Friday, citing a knee injury.

• • •

Update #7: 11:49 a.m. EDT

A bogey at the par-4 12th drops Ryan Palmer back to 6 under. He is now joined by Steve Stricker, Kevin Chappell, Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy in the lead.

• • •

Update #6: 11:17 a.m. EDT

There are scores to be had at soggy Valhalla, as Ryan Moore is 3 under on his round through seven holes and has moved to 1 under on the tournament.

Steve Stricker has the round of the day going, making a birdie bomb on No. 17 to move to 4 under through eight holes and to 6 under on the tournament.

• • •

Update #5: 11:07 a.m. EDT

Rory McIlroy drains a 15-footer on No. 15 to move into red on the day and is now within a shot of the lead at 6 under.

• • •

Update #4: 10:53 a.m. EDT

Ryan Palmer responds to his bogey on No. 8 with a birdie on No. 9 to regain the outright lead at 7 under, three clear of a trio of players.

Meanwhile, U.S. Open champ and 2010 PGA Championship winner Martin Kaymer has dropped outside the projected cut line with a double bogey on No. 14 and is 3 over through five holes.

• • •

Update #3: 10:41 a.m. EDT

Steve Stricker – who was named an assistant captain for the U.S. Ryder Cup team earlier this week – is hot early, picking up birdies at Nos. 10, 14 and 15 to move within a shot of the lead at 5 under.

Stricker is still searching for his first major title.

• • •

Update #2: 10:36 a.m. EDT

Rory McIlroy picks up his first birdie of the day, taking advantage of the short par-4 13th to move back to 5 under, just one off the lead.

Ryan Palmer has fallen back into a four-way tie for the lead after a bogey on No. 8 and is tied with Henrik Stenson, Lee Westwood and Kevin Chappell.

• • •

Update #1: 10:20 a.m. EDT

A 50-minute delay due to heavy rain started the day at Valhalla, pushing tee times back.

The marquee morning group is Rory McIlroy, Bubba Watson and Martin Kaymer. McIlroy is 1 over through three holes, picking up par at the par-5 10th a day after a double bogey, but then lipped out for par on No. 12 from 8 feet and is now three shots off the lead.

Ryan Palmer has taken the outright lead with a birdie on No. 7, moving to 7 under, with Henrik Stenson moving to T-2 with two birdies and a bogey through four holes today.

• • •

Thursday's coverage

Westwood's 65 has him in PGA lead, on Ryder Cup radar

If he isn’t quite the Alfred E. Neuman of the professional golf world, Lee Westwood is close. His back's to the wall. He missed the cut in the summer Opens on each side of the pond. He’s rumored not to be held in strong favor by European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley, probably to the end of his run of eight straight Ryder Cup appearances. Theories, suspicions, ungrounded talk. None of which fazes Westwood, who Thursday moved to a share of the PGA Championship lead in seeking his first major victory.

McIlroy sputters, but then steps on gas for opening 66 at PGA

Rory McIlroy has been called The Ultimate Driving Machine, a word play off the slick BMW sports car ads, and the moniker fits considering the Northern Irishman's immense power and pinpoint precision off the tee. But if you want to compare the man to a vehicle, here’s the thing to know: These days, he handles incredibly well, too. Thursday at Valhalla, McIlroy took on the sharp corner of his opening round at the 96th PGA Championship with the skill of a Formula One racer.

Rude: State of Woods' game continues to be in disarray

This is a two-way miss. Driver, about 50 yards left and into a hazard on No. 1. Three-wood, about 50 yards left and into a hazard on No. 2. Driver, about 50 yards right and over a green fence and into the Samsung Phone Zone on No. 7. Tiger Woods might have wanted to become a Navy SEAL at one point. But Thursday in the PGA Championship first round, he played some Army golf.

5 Things: Palmer shares PGA lead; Mickelson rallies

There was plenty of red to go around Thursday at the 96th PGA Championship at Valhalla, with 52 players finishing under par while a few stars were seeing red due to poor rounds in ideal conditions. Lee Westwood, Kevin Chappell and Ryan Palmer finished 18 holes tied for the lead after 6-under 65s, while Jim Furyk, Rory McIlroy, Chris Wood, Henrik Stenson and Edoardo Molinari are a stroke back. There are 32 players four shots back or less. From Tiger Woods' dismal 74 to Phil Mickelson's 69, here are 5 Things to know.

Dufner withdraws from PGA, won't play again until healthy

As if the 214-yard drive that went dead left at the first hole weren’t a giveaway, the sloppy three-putt from 30 feet at Valhalla Golf Club's sixth hole spoke volumes for the state of his game. Finally, when Jason Dufner was able to only drive it 254 yards at the par-5 10th – this being where 300-yard blasts were routine – common sense prevailed. “I’m not competitive,” Dufner said. “I can only do more damage.”

Putter finally heats up for Chappell (65) at PGA Championship

Kevin Chappell didn't mince words Thursday afternoon: This season hasn't been all that great. Yes, he's earned a shade under $1 million for the season. But he's only recorded a single top 10, and that was 10th at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at the end of May. So, needless to say, his bogey-free, 6-under 65 that left Chappell tied for the clubhouse lead at the PGA Championship came out of nowhere.

Playing consistent golf, Furyk again in the mix at Valhalla

Though Oak Hill and Valhalla may be worlds apart in terms of the exam each presents, the opening day of the 96th PGA Championship had at least one similarity to the 95th edition: veteran Jim Furyk had injected himself into the mix.

Fowler's major turnaround continues at PGA Championship

Coming into 2014, Rickie Fowler had missed more cuts (three) than he had top-10 finishes (two) in major championships. Then Butch Harmon happened. Then the maturation of Rickie Fowler happened – with three top-5 finishes in the year's first three majors. His stellar play didn't stop on Thursday at the 96th PGA Championship, firing a 2-under 69.

Club pros start slow at PGA, but Helminen, Broce stand out

It wasn’t a particularly stellar start to the 96th PGA Championship from the 20 club professionals in the field, but there were some highlights. Nine of the club professionals who earned spots in the starting field from the PGA Professional National Championship in June played in the morning wave of Thursday’s opening round. Though he ended his day at 3-over-par 74, Jamie Broce, the head coach of the men’s golf team at the University of Toledo and the runner-up at the PNC, finished with a flurry.

Club pro highlights scarce in PGA Championship 1st round

It was a day for scoring in the first round of the 96th PGA Championship on Thursday at Valhalla Golf Club. Evidently, not many of the 20 club professionals in the field got the memo. At Valhalla, which traditionally has been one of the most benign PGA Championship venues, about one-third of the field broke par. But that lengthy list of players in red figures included no club professionals. Fifty-year-old Steve Schneiter of Sandy, Utah, came the closest; he shot a 1-over-par 72.

A look at the PGA Championship prize money at Valhalla

The 96th PGA Championship offers the largest purse of the four majors, with the winner going home with $1.8 million. Here is a breakdown of what each place will receive on Sunday at Valhalla: 1st: $1,800,000; 2nd: $1,080,000; 3rd: $680,000 …

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Pre-tournament coverage

Woods: 'I feel good,' will play PGA Championship

Upbeat about his famous back, Tiger Woods showed up Wednesday at Valhalla and declared himself ready to play in the 96th PGA Championship, which begins Thursday.

Garcia: McIlroy less afraid to hit driver than Tiger

Sergio Garcia has played alongside Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy in major championships and offers up his perspective on how they are different.

In nod to Olympics, 2016 PGA will move to July

The 2016 PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club will move to July 28-31 to accommodate the 2016 Summer Olympics, which will begin August 5 in Rio de Janeiro.

Rude: Bubba Golf veers off course in skipping long drive at PGA

Bubba Watson built a brand around Bubba Golf, a fun-loving, fun-first way to play the game. On Tuesday at Valhalla, he lost sight of that brand in refusing to partake in the long-drive competition.

Mickelson hopes to carry spark to PGA

A 62 to cap last week's efforts seemed to do a world of difference for Phil Mickelson -- whose psyche is in a different place at the PGA Championship than it has been on PGA Tour this year.

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