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McIlroy tops PGA Championship leaderboard going into Woods free weekend

McIlroy 36 holes from second straight major title
McIlroy 36 holes from second straight major title
Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The PGA Championship leaderboard made its first cuts on August 8, with Tiger Woods on the wrong end of it. But while Woods' PGA Championship is over, the leaderboard -- perhaps like the sport of golf in general -- will go on just fine without him. Rory McIlroy made sure of that by going on top once again, putting himself halfway through towards a third straight victory and second straight major title.

McIlroy technically had a worse second round than first round, shooting a -4 67 after his 66 the previous day. Yet the leaderboard cleared up for him more, as his -9 was good enough for the lead, although he couldn't completely shake off a few players.

Jim Furyk got into a tie for second with Jason Day at -8, with Day winning the right to play with McIlroy in the final third round group. And while Woods ended his rough week with a second straight 74, Phil Mickelson made a late surge to get to -6 and a tie for seventh. As for first round co-leader Lee Westwood, the former No. 1 took a step back in his quest for a first major with a second round 72.

Sergio Garcia made the cut at even par overall, but a third straight duel with McIlroy looks unlikely at the moment. If McIlroy is to take the PGA Championship, it seems he'll have to outduel the likes of Furyk, Day, Mickelson and Ryan Palmer instead. Given that he has won his previous three majors by wide margins, having an actual final round duel on a major Sunday would be new for him.

The leaderboard could still open up on moving day on August 9, turning the PGA Championship into another coronation. Considering how Woods never stood a chance in this tournament, McIlroy winning another major at the same time would be considered the coronation of golf's new era -- if it hasn't been declared or made obvious already.

The rest of the field will still try to prevent McIlroy from taking the throne, however. He will start his third round with Day at 3 p.m. est, with CBS starting third round coverage at 2 p.m.