Gary Woodland adopted up a fantastic begin with a spherical adequate to get him within the record e book Friday on the PGA Championship.
On a record day of scoring, it solely gave him a one-shot lead.
And with extra rain that pounded Bellerive and worn out golf for the remainder of the afternoon, Woodland wasn’t even positive he could be main.
Woodland had a 4-under 66 and set the PGA Championship record with a 36-hole rating of 130. That was barely sufficient for a one-shot lead over Kevin Kisner, considered one of three gamers who got here to the ultimate gap with a shot at changing into the primary to put up a 62 within the PGA.
Kisner, enjoying in the identical group as Woodland, got here up in need of the inexperienced at No. 9 and made bogey for a 64.
Simply forward of them, two-time U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka narrowly missed a 20-foot birdie putt at No. 9. He needed to accept being the 15th participant in PGA Championship historical past to shoot a 63.
After which Charl Schwartzel made it 16 gamers together with his eight-birdie spherical of 63.
“They secret’s to get the ball within the fairway and assault from there,” Woodland mentioned.
Tiger Woods, Rickie Fowler and the late starters Friday had the identical concept and had been on the identical observe till the sky darkened, thunder rumbled and storms arrived to cease play for 2 hours, till it rained a lot the PGA referred to as it a day.
The second spherical was to renew at 7 a.m. native time Saturday, and the third spherical — climate allowing — was to begin 30 minutes after the conclusion of the second spherical, with threesomes beginning on either side.
Nobody from the afternoon facet of the draw completed greater than 12 holes. Woods made three birdies in 5 holes and was seven pictures behind. Fowler overcame an early bogey with three birdies via 10 holes. He was at 7 beneath, three pictures behind Woodland with eight holes to play.
“Guys positively took benefit of that this morning,” Fowler mentioned through the rain delay. “Just a few of us are attempting to leap on that practice and make the most of it this afternoon.”
Bellerive actually had no defence.
Two rounds of 63s. One other at 64. Six rounds of 65. And that was solely half of the 156-man subject.
“The golf course is gettable,” Woodland mentioned. “Should you drive the golf ball in play, the greens had been rolling somewhat bit higher as we speak. I feel we’ll see some putts go in.”
They had been entering into for nearly all people.
Woodland’s 36-hole rating broke the PGA record by one shot, most lately set by Jimmy Walker and Robert Streb at Baltusrol. It additionally tied the 36-hole record for all majors, matching Jordan Spieth on the 2015 Masters, Martin Kaymer on the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 and Brandt Snedeker (Royal Lytham & St. Annes in 2012) and Nick Faldo (Muirfield in 1992) on the British Open.
‘I actually thought I made it’
Koepka ran off three straight birdies after he made the flip and got here to the par-5 ninth at 7 beneath for the spherical. He hit his method 20 toes above the outlet and did not know a record was at stake — till after he missed.
“I used to be simply making an attempt to make the factor, and I actually thought I made it,” Koepka mentioned. “My caddie mentioned one thing strolling off. I did not even consider it. I have been so within the zone, you do not know the place you might be.”
Koepka was at 8-under 132, two pictures behind.
Dustin Johnson, the world’s No. 1 participant, had a 66 and joined Schwartzel and Thomas Pieters (66) at 133.
Woodland and Kisner performed in the identical group, they usually supplied a fantastic instance that Bellerive is accommodating to only about any recreation. Woodland is among the many strongest gamers in golf. Kisner is just not. He depends extra on a clear hit together with his irons and a fantastic brief recreation.
The course is so comfortable — not a lot from Tuesday’s rain, however the excessive warmth that requires extra water on the turf — that each flag is accessible offered gamers discover the ample fairways.
“Greens are receptive, so my 4-iron stops as fast as his 7-iron,” Kisner mentioned. “In the event that they had been agency, I do not suppose I’d have an opportunity with the way in which the greens are located and the locations they’re placing the flags. However being receptive, that is my solely hope.”
Spieth nonetheless has hope in his second attempt at a profession Grand Slam. Spieth did not get beneath par for the event till his seventh gap Friday — the par-3 16th gap — and he managed to do sufficient proper for a 66 to get inside seven pictures of the lead.
Spieth annoyed by course
Spieth has battled together with his recreation all yr, and his confidence is not at its peak. It is the character of the course that makes him really feel he has a farther climb than the seven pictures that separate him from Woodland.
“A bit annoyed at this place generally,” Spieth mentioned. “This course could be phenomenal — and possibly is phenomenal — if it isn’t enjoying comfortable. You get away with extra. You do not have to be as exact. … Personally, I would favor harder and firmer, sooner circumstances on the greens. Having mentioned that, I’d have shot a a lot larger rating yesterday.”
Woods was Three over via seven holes of this championship, and he’s 6 beneath over his subsequent 18 holes and gave the impression to be gaining momentum. Alongside together with his three birdies, he saved par from a bunker on the par-Three sixth gap from about 18 toes.
Defending champion Justin Thomas made one birdie and little question felt like he was dropping floor. He was solely 2 beneath. Rory McIlroy opened with seven straight pars, after which he belted a drive 359 yards on the par-5 eighth gap when the rain arrived.
Halfway via the afternoon spherical, the reduce was projected to be even par. Woodland, even with the bottom 36-hole rating in 60 years of stroke play on the PGA Championship, nonetheless had a protracted strategy to go. In circumstances like Bellerive, no lead was protected.
“I really feel protected as a result of I really feel protected the place my recreation is,” Woodland mentioned. “I am not too frightened with what anybody else is doing on the market.”