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  • Stenson in the mix despite disappointing day

  • Henrik Stenson shot 66-71 over the first two rounds. (David Cannon/Getty Images) Henrik Stenson shot 66-71 over the first two rounds. (David Cannon/Getty Images)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Henrik Stenson wasn't particularly pleased with his round of even par on Friday at the PGA Championship.

At least, though, he stayed within striking distance of Rory McIlroy. The world No. 1 is leading at 9 under, two up on the field and four strokes ahead of the reigning FedExCup champ with 36 holes remaining at Valhalla.

"There's still a lot of golf to be played," Stenson said. "It's more of a question if I can turn it up a notch.... Today wasn't a great day for me so I need to play better over the weekend."

Stenson, who also won the European Tour's Race to Dubai last year, is bidding to become the first Swede to win a major championship. He has finished fourth or better in three of the last five majors, too, so to see him challenging again comes as no surprise.

But Valhalla, while soft, was playing extremely long given the overnight rain that continued with a vengence Friday morning. Despite the forecast, tournament officials decided to play the ball down, which Stenson said was not the best idea "in my book."  

"You are getting no run," Stenson said. "So I guess it's a good 20, 25 yards off the tee balls and with it being so wet on the fairways, you are losing a bit of compression on the second shots as well. I guess every hole would play roughly 30 yards longer with than it would have been with a bit of bounce and firmer conditions. It's playing longer."

Stenson only hit seven fairways, five fewer than he did in the first round, but he still managed to find 12 greens for the second straight day. He credited his putter, which produced three birdies, with keeping him competitive.

"I didn't have a great day ball-striking wise," Stenson said. "I missed too many fairways definitely. That put me in trouble a few times. My putting kept me in the game. I made a few good saves and one or two good birdie putts. All in all, I have to take it.

"I didn't have a great day out there, but I still kept it together and that's a positive. Couple of minutes on the range hopefully and we have to turn it up a bit over the weekend if we want to move forward from here on."

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