Rory McIlroy shows some fight

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Rory McIlroy had a 1-over 71 on Friday in the second round of the PGA Championship at Oak Hill. This follows his opening-round 69.

The 24-year-old Northern Irishman, who won last year's PGA by 8 shots at Kiawah Island, got off to a tough start on Friday with a 4-over 39 on his first nine holes that included a double-bogey at the par-3 15th hole. At that point he was 4 over and in danger of missing the cut for his second consecutive major. But he rebounded on his inward nine with four birdies that will carry him easily into the weekend.

With half of the field still on the course, McIlroy is even par for the tournament and 7 shots back of clubhouse leader Adam Scott.

"I had a nice finish to the round, was letting the round get away from me somewhat, but making four birdies on the last eight holes was nice to sort of redeem the round a little bit and keep myself in the tournament," McIlroy said. "I'm pretty happy and just looking forward to the weekend."

By his high standards, the No. 3 player in the world has struggled in majors in 2013 with a tie for 25th at the Masters; a tie for 41st at the U.S. Open; and a missed cut at the Open Championship.

A second-place finish at the Valero Texas Open in April has been his best finish this year.

This less-than-stellar record follows an offseason in which McIlroy made wholesale changes to his golf equipment after winning five times worldwide in 2012 and ascended to No. 1 in the world.

He came into Oak Hill hoping to salvage a difficult year. His finish on Friday gives him some reassurance that he's moving in the right direction with his game.

"Walking up the second hole, which was my 11th today, all I wanted to do is be here for the weekend," he said. "All of sudden, I'm somewhat back in the tournament.

"It makes me feel good because, maybe in the middle of the season or a couple of months ago, I wouldn't have been standing up here. It's good to be able to do that and fight back, and it makes you feel good about yourself going into the weekend."