(CNN) -- The contrast could not be greater.
As Tiger Woods hooked his tee shot at the first hole way left of the fairway, new world number one Rory McIlroy rolled home a birdie putt on his closing hole to lead the PGA Championship on nine-under-par.
Woods, who bravely teed it up in the final major of the season despite a back problem, was eventually finish with a second straight 74 to be five shots outside the halfway cut mark for the weekend.
McIlroy, bidding for a hat-trick of victories after winning the British Open and WGC-Bridgestone International, followed his opening 66 with a 67 to set a testing target for the later starters, which nobody was able to match.
Jason Day of Australia got closest with a best of the day 65 to trail McIlroy by a stroke and he was joined on eight under by veteran American Jim Furyk.
As one of the early starters on the second day, the 25-year-old Northern Irishman had to battle torrential rain, which brought about a near hour delay to play at Valhalla, but carded just a solitary bogey on his card.
Starting from the 10th, it came on the 12th to put him back to four-under, but McIlroy rebounded superbly with a birdie at the next and then an eagle on the par-five 18th, rolling home a 30-foot putt.
A run of pars came on the first six holes of his back nine before a stunning 242-yard five-wood approach to the par-five seventh had the galleries gasping.
McIlroy missed his putt for a second eagle of his round but the tap in birdie took him to eight-under and on his final hole, the ninth, came that final birdie to open up a lead on the field.
"I'm feeling good about my game. I'm confident," McIlroy said.
"I didn't hit it quite as well as I did yesterday, but still really in control of my game and my emotions," he told the official PGA Tour website.
Britain's Lee Westwood and American Kevin Chappell, both leading on six-under after 65s on Thursday, carded respective second rounds of 72 and 74 to drop back into the pack in Kentucky.
Woods did save par on the first after his errant tee shot, but left himself with an almost insurmountable task to make the weekend after a three-putt double bogey on the sixth.
He appeared to be hampered by his injury, but the 38-year-old did finish with a flourish by birdieing the 18th.
Phil Mickelson, who had been paired with Woods, went one better, rolling home a short eagle putt to signal his challenge after a 67 for six-under overall.
The 2013 British Open champion has only one top-10 finish all season, but moved to within three shots of leader McIlroy with his late charge.