Willett, Rahm share 2nd-round lead at Wentworth

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Spain's Jon Rahm plays a shot on the 9th hole during the PGA Championship at Wentworth Golf Club, Wentworth, England, Friday Sept. 20, 2019. (Bradley Collyer/PA via AP)
Spain’s Jon Rahm plays a shot on the 9th hole during the PGA Championship at Wentworth Golf Club, Wentworth, England, Friday Sept. 20, 2019. (Bradley Collyer/PA via AP)

Virginia Water, England (AP) — A fast start by Danny Willett and a sublime finish by Jon Rahm helped them into a tie for the second-round lead at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth on Friday.

Willett was 5 under after his first five holes and rolled in three more birdies in a 7-under 65, lifting the former Masters champion atop the leaderboard at the flagship event at the European Tour’s headquarters.

The Englishman was soon joined on 11 under overall by No. 6-ranked Rahm, who hit a 4-iron to 10 feet at the par-5 18th hole and made the eagle putt to complete a round of 67.

“This weekend you’re going to have a real good leaderboard,” said Willett, who raced to the turn in 29 just like in 2016 when he finished third after sharing the 36-hole lead, “and we’ve put ourselves in a position to be right up there.”

They were two strokes clear of Justin Rose (68), Henrik Stenson (69) and South Africa’s Christiaan Bezuidenhout (67), who holed a flop shot over a bunker for birdie at No. 15 in one of the shots of the day.

Paul Casey, a winner at the European Open in Germany two weeks ago, shot 69 and was a further two shots back on 7 under with Billy Horschel, whose 65 tied for the lowest round of the day with Willett.

Among the chasing pack was Viktor Hovland, a 22-year-old Norwegian who has now shot 19 straight rounds in the 60s across the PGA and European Tours. A pair of 69s left him in a tie for eighth place.

No. 2-ranked Rory McIlroy followed an opening-round 76 with a 69 to make the cut on the number with Tommy Fleetwood (75) and Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington (72).