Lee Westwood was the big story from the first 18 as The Ryder Cup veteran, who is currently outside of the automatic qualification places, reminded anyone who needed it just how good he can be on his day. A fine 65 had Westwood in a tie for the lead going into the second round, and the 23-time European Tour winner looked composed through the opening stages today.
However, after requiring a penalty drop at the 13th and then finding water two holes later, the 41 year old is now four shots adrift of tournament leader Rory McIlroy. His five under par total after two rounds at a rain-soaked Valhalla is a good start though, and re-affirms to McGinley that Westwood is striking it well, and determined not to rely on a captain’s pick.
Unlike Westwood, Jamie Donaldson is one of those lucky enough to be occupying a place on the European side at the moment, and the Welshman has shown exactly why he’s in the final qualification spot on the World Points list at Valhalla so far this week. Some consistent and mature golf has Donaldson at three under par heading into moving day at the year’s final Major, and potentially, in the mix for plenty of World Golf Ranking points, with 24 or more on offer to anyone finishing in the top five.
Joost Luiten meanwhile, looks like he means business in the States, after the Dutchman fired a two under par 69 in his second round, one more than on Thursday, to leave himself well placed in a tie for eighth. Luiten doesn’t have eight consecutive Ryder Cup appearances to fall back on like Westwood, but has shown in his 36 holes round Valhalla that he has no intention of going away quietly. Two more rounds in the sixties from the 28 year old will have others around him on the World Points list looking on nervously.
English European stalwarts Luke Donald and Ian Poulter will also be back for the weekend in Kentucky, with them both in the clubhouse at the halfway stage at level par and one under respectively. Although the experienced duo haven’t found their best form as of yet at the US PGA Championship, another 36 holes will give the esteemed pair the chance to build on the platforms they have laid, and show the sort of magic that has had European golf fans leaping for joy in past Ryder Cups.
Miguel Ángel Jiménez will be looking to improve on his seven over par finish at Valhalla over the next few weeks, as the cut-off for a place in the European side edges closer. A perennial winner like Jiménez certainly shouldn’t be discounted yet, however the Spaniard needs to hit the ground running, after a missed cut in Kentucky.
Stephen Gallacher is also one of those vying to make his debut in the biennial match play event in his home country, but he followed up a solid opening round of 70 with a six over par 77, to miss out on the weekend by four strokes.