McIlroy gives himself a chance of Firestone win

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Justin Thomas followed a solid recipe for winning the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone C.C.'s South Course: hit it far off the tee and then hit a bunch of greens in regulation.

JASON Day and Marc Leishman have vowed to show up at the US PGA Championship in better shape after squandering back-nine chances to win the World Golf Championships Invitational in Ohio. Tiger Woods, an eight-time victor at Firestone, tried to go out with a bang and ended with a dud.

The trio made the most of ideal morning scoring conditions, finishing the second round on 11-under 129, two strokes in front of American Kyle Stanley, who carded a 68 and Australian Jason Day, who produced a four-under 66 in the afternoon.

The world No.3 has 2014 WGC-Bridgestone victor Rory McIlroy (67) and Ian Poulter (70) snapping at his heels three shots back.

Thomas moved away from the pack with 5 birdies in the middle of his round from holes 6 through 14.

The American, who won twice early this season before hitting a dry spell, will defend his PGA Championship title at Bellerive in St. Louis, Missouri, in the final major of the season starting Thursday.

"I'm glad I finally played well around here, just in time to leave", he said.

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"We think this tournament is good for the city, it's good for the Northeast Ohio region, with all the visitors and guests here", said Janelle Lee, from Canton. What made this one special was not only the time that had gone by since his last win, but who was waiting for him behind the 18th green. "I just played like crap".

Former world No.1s Day and Woods wowed enormous crowds by trading blows in a sharp display of golf.

"I like to hit driver as much as possible and this course allows me to do that", he said.

"I needed to go get it today and I didn't do it".

But back-to-back bogeys from the 13th preceded a double-bogey at the par-5 16th as Day signed for a 73 to share 10th at seven under, eight shots back of Thomas. "This is my first PGA Tour win with them here, so it's pretty cool", the 25-year-old said after joining Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson as three-times winners on the tour this year. Paul and Phyllis Thomas live in the Louisville, Ky., and this is the first time they saw Justin win in person on the PGA Tour. I've had days where I've missed more but putted better.

Day, the 2015 PGA Championship victor, is similarly confident of sharpening up in time for a bid at an anticipated second major title.