Genesis Invitational: Tiger Woods withdraws as Patrick Cantlay pulls ahead and Rory McIlroy improves

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Patrick Cantlay took control of the Genesis Invitational by building a five-shot halfway lead, as Rory McIlroy bounced back from a slow start and Tiger Woods withdrew through illness.

Cantlay followed an opening-round 64 by firing an eagle and five birdies in a bogey-free 65 on Friday at Riviera Country Club, lifting him to 13 under and with a clear advantage over closest challengers Jason Day, Luke List and Mackenzie Hughes.

Corey Conners holds fifth spot ahead of the group containing Will Zalatoris, who made a stunning hole-in-one at the par-three 14th, with world No 1 Scottie Scheffler a further two strokes back on four under after experiencing more putting struggles in his second-round 70.

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Will Zalatoris hit a fantastic hole-in-one on the 14th hole at the Genesis Invitational, sparking wild celebrations between him and his caddie as they both receive a car!

McIlroy moved up the leaderboard after bouncing back from his opening-round 74 to card a blemish-free 66 and safely make it through to the weekend, while Woods’ PGA Tour comeback ended when he pulled out of the event with “flu-like symptoms” and “feeling dizzy”.

Frantic Friday in California

Cantlay drained a 15-foot eagle at the par-five first and recovered from a wayward tee shot at the par-three fourth to pitch to ten feet and scramble a par, then holed from a similar distance to birdie the eighth and reach the turn in 32.

Patrick Cantlay watches his putt on the 13th green during the second round of the Genesis Invitational golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Friday, Feb. 16, 2024, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)
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Patrick Cantlay is looking for his ninth PGA Tour victory and first since 2022

The former FedExCup champion rolled in from 15 feet at the par-five 11th and ended a run of pars by firing his approach to close range at the 15th, then took advantage of the par-five 17th to extend his cushion over the chasing pack.

A final-hole bogey from Day saw the former world No 1 post a two-under 69 and drop back to eight under alongside List and Hughes, who charged into contention with a second-round 65, while Corey Conners is in fifth spot after a birdie-birdie finish lifted him to seven under.

Zalatoris’ ace earned him and his caddie a car and was the highlights of his second-round 70, with Scheffler in the group tied-11th that contains Max Homa as he chases a first victory since The Players last March.

McIlroy two-putted from 15 feet to take advantage of the par-five first and followed a 20-foot birdie at the third by making an eagle at the par-five 11th, then picked up another shot at the 17th to head into the weekend on two under.

Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, tees off on the second hole during the second round of the Genesis Invitational golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Friday, Feb. 16, 2024, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)
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Rory McIlroy was in danger of missing the cut until a much-improved second round

Only the top 50 and ties make it through to the weekend at the PGA Tour’s latest Signature Event, with Justin Thomas – playing alongside Woods and former US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick among those making an early exit.

Jordan Spieth also failed to progress after being disqualified for signing his scorecard incorrectly. He signed for a three at the par-three fourth, when he actually made bogey, with the PGA Tour confirming his disqualification after his round.

What happened to Woods?

Woods birdied the opening round as he looked to battle through to the weekend but slipped below the cut mark with back-to-back bogeys from the fourth hole, then made a two-putt par at the sixth hole and hit his tee shot onto the seventh fairway before calling an early end to his round.

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Tiger Woods withdrew from the Genesis Invitational shortly after his tee shot on the seventh hole of his second round

The 48-year-old had his head in his hands as he was taken from the course on a buggy, with the PGA Tour confirming that Woods’ mid-round withdrawal – his third in his last six official starts – was due to illness rather than injury.

Rob McNamara, Woods’ long-time business partner and vice president of TGR Ventures, later revealed that the 15-time major champion required an IV after getting dizzy and feeling unwell prior to him calling time on his round.

“So he started feeling some flu-like symptoms last night,” McNamara told reporters. “Woke up this morning, they were worse than the night previous. He had a little bit of a fever and that was better during the warm-up but then when he got out there, and was walking and playing, he started feeling dizzy.

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Tiger Woods was seen being driven off the property, a couple of hours after his withdrawal from the tournament

“Ultimately the doctors are saying he’s got some – potentially some type of flu and that he was dehydrated. He’s been treated with an IV bag and he’s doing much, much better. Not physical at all, his back’s fine. It was all medical illness, dehydration, which is now the symptoms are reversing themselves now that he’s had an IV.”

Watch the Genesis Invitational throughout the weekend live on Sky Sports. Live coverage continues on Saturday from 3pm on Sky Sports Golf. Stream the majors, PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour and more on NOW.

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