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Defending champion Donald and McIlroy crash out

ESPN staff
May 24, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Luke Donald will not be lifting the BMW PGA Championship after crashing out at the halfway stage at Wentworth © PA Photos
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BMW PGA Championship leaderboard

It was a miserable day for defending champion Luke Donald as he missed the halfway cut at the BMW PGA Championship, ending all hopes of a third successive Wentworth title while Rory McIlroy also struggled in the rain and will not return for a third round on Saturday.

Englishman Donald, who has won the European Tour's flagship event for the previous two years, the first of which kick-started a 56-week stint as world No. 1, had an up and down round which included five birdies, three bogeys and a double bogey for a level-par 72.

But the damage was done with yesterday's 78 and Donald, on six-over-par, will end the day well outside the cut line.

World No. 2 McIlroy endured a torrid Friday afternoon in the pouring Surrey rain, carding five bogeys and a double bogey which, combined with four birdies, saw him finish with a three-over par 75. Overall, the Ulsterman sits at five-over after two rounds and will not return for the weekend action.

"It was just a bit of a grind, I just didn't play particularly well today," McIlroy told Sky Sports. "I was missing a lot of greens and just could not give myself many chances to get any shots back and staying here for the weekend."

Fellow Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell suffered the same fate as his compatriot, carding four bogeys and a solitary bogey in his round of 75, meaning he will also miss the cut sitting at five-over par overall.

However, there were no such problems for Lee Westwood, the man Donald beat in a playoff in 2011 and subsequently replaced at the top of the rankings, who recovered from a bogey-bogey start to shoot 71 and end the day at three-under-par.

Westwood, much maligned for his questionable touch around the greens, said: "My short game's been red hot. I played some nice pitches and walking off the back of the 12th green, where I pitched that shot to about four feet, [playing partner] Ernie [Els] said, 'Bit of a short game wizard now?'

"I also got up and down on 18 after hitting it in the hazard and those sorts of things can make a big difference to your week and going into the weekend with momentum. If my long game starts to come together, I could be dangerous."

It was also a good day for British pair Mark Foster and Marc Warren, who shot 69 and 70 respectively to sit tied for second with South African George Coetzee, who also recorded a 70.

The trio, all at five-under, trail Francesco Molinari by a single shot. The Italian battled through the wet and windy conditions in Surrey to set the clubhouse target after holing a 20-foot birdie putt at 18 for 68 - the best round of the morning starters.

Molinari, whose halved match with Tiger Woods at the Ryder Cup sealed Europe's remarkable victory at Medinah, dropped shots at the first, tenth and 16th, but also carded seven birdies on a course where he finished seventh last year.

"Six under is a good score given the conditions," said Molinari, who now resides in London. "I live over here now so I am used to it - and I'm in a great position going into the weekend, but it's a really tough course so anyone six or seven behind is still in it."

Sergio Garcia, who hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons in the build-up to the event, followed up Thursday's 72 with a one-under-par 71 to sit five off the pace.

Another big name going home, however, is Ian Poulter. The Englishman carded back-to-back rounds of 76 to slump to eight-over-par.

Fellow Brit Eddie Pepperell, 22, birdied the last four holes of his second round to card a 69 and move to four-under par overall.

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