Gary Woodland adopted up an ideal get started with a spherical excellent sufficient to get him within the record guide Friday on the PGA Championship.
On a record day of scoring, it best gave him a one-shot lead.
And with extra rain that pounded Bellerive and burnt up golfing for the remainder of the afternoon, Woodland wasn’t even certain he could be main.
Woodland had a Four-under 66 and set the PGA Championship record with a 36-hole ranking of 130. That was once slightly sufficient for a one-shot lead over Kevin Kisner, one in all 3 avid gamers who got here to the general gap with a shot at turning into the primary to put up a 62 within the PGA.
Kisner, enjoying in the similar team as Woodland, got here up in need of the fairway at No. nine and made bogey for a 64.
Just forward of them, two-time U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka narrowly neglected a 20-foot birdie putt at No. nine. He needed to accept being the 15th participant in PGA Championship historical past to shoot a 63.
And then Charl Schwartzel made it 16 avid gamers together with his eight-birdie spherical of 63.
“They key is to get the ball in the fairway and attack from there,” Woodland mentioned.
Tiger Woods, Rickie Fowler and the overdue starters Friday had the similar concept and had been at the identical monitor till the sky darkened, thunder rumbled and storms arrived to forestall play for 2 hours, till it rained such a lot the PGA referred to as it an afternoon.
The 2nd spherical was once to renew at 7 a.m. native time Saturday, and the 3rd spherical — climate allowing — was once to start out 30 mins after the belief of the second one spherical, with threesomes beginning on all sides.
No one from the afternoon aspect of the draw completed greater than 12 holes. Woods made 3 birdies in 5 holes and was once seven photographs at the back of. Fowler overcame an early bogey with 3 birdies via 10 holes. He was once at 7 below, 3 photographs at the back of Woodland with 8 holes to play.
“Guys definitely took advantage of that this morning,” Fowler mentioned throughout the rain prolong. “A few of us are trying to jump on that train and take advantage of it this afternoon.”
Bellerive actually had no defence.
Two rounds of 63s. Another at 64. Six rounds of 65. And that was once best part of the 156-man box.
“The golf course is gettable,” Woodland mentioned. “If you drive the golf ball in play, the greens were rolling a little bit better today. I think we’ll see some putts go in.”
They had been getting into for nearly everyone.
Woodland’s 36-hole ranking broke the PGA record by one shot, maximum not too long ago 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 concept I made it’
Koepka ran off 3 instantly birdies after he made the flip and got here to the par-Five 9th at 7 below for the spherical. He hit his way 20 ft above the outlet and did not know a record was once at stake — till after he neglected.
“I was just trying to make the thing, and I really thought I made it,” Koepka mentioned. “My caddie said something walking off. I didn’t even think of it. I’ve been so in the zone, you don’t know where you are.”
Koepka was once at Eight-under 132, two photographs at the back of.
Dustin Johnson, the arena’s No. 1 participant, had a 66 and joined Schwartzel and Thomas Pieters (66) at 133.
Woodland and Kisner performed in the similar team, they usually introduced an ideal instance that Bellerive is accommodating to near to any recreation. Woodland is one of the maximum robust avid gamers in golfing. Kisner isn’t. He is predicated extra on a blank hit together with his irons and an ideal quick recreation.
The route is so cushy — now not such a lot from Tuesday’s rain, however the excessive warmth that calls for extra water at the turf — that each and every flag is obtainable supplied avid gamers in finding the plentiful fairways.
“Greens are receptive, so my 4-iron stops as quick as his 7-iron,” Kisner mentioned. “If they were firm, I don’t think I would have a chance with the way the greens are situated and the places they’re putting the flags. But being receptive, that’s my only hope.”
Spieth nonetheless has hope in his 2nd check out at a occupation Grand Slam. Spieth did not get below par for the match till his 7th gap Friday — the par-Three 16th gap — and he controlled to do sufficient proper for a 66 to get inside of seven photographs of the lead.
Spieth annoyed by route
Spieth has battled together with his recreation all yr, and his self belief is not at its height. It’s the character of the route that makes him really feel he has a farther climb than the seven photographs that separate him from Woodland.
“A little frustrated at this place in general,” Spieth mentioned. “This course would be phenomenal — and probably is phenomenal — if it’s not playing soft. You get away with more. You don’t have to be as precise. … Personally, I would prefer more difficult and firmer, faster conditions on the greens. Having said that, I would have shot a much higher score yesterday.”
Woods was once Three over via seven holes of this championship, and he’s 6 below over his subsequent 18 holes and looked to be gaining momentum. Along together with his 3 birdies, he stored par from a bunker at the par-Three 6th gap from about 18 ft.
Defending champion Justin Thomas made one birdie and indisputably felt like he was once dropping floor. He was once best 2 below. Rory McIlroy opened with seven instantly pars, after which he belted a power 359 yards at the par-Five 8th gap when the rain arrived.
Midway during the afternoon spherical, the reduce was once projected to be even par. Woodland, even with the bottom 36-hole ranking in 60 years of stroke play on the PGA Championship, nonetheless had a protracted solution to move. In stipulations like Bellerive, no lead was once protected.
“I feel safe because I feel safe where my game is,” Woodland mentioned. “I’m not too worried with what anyone else is doing out there.”