Gary Woodland sets PGA Championship record but leads by only one stroke
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ST. LOUIS — Sirens blared across Bellerive, putting the second round of the PGA Championship on hold and ending a day of scoring rarely seen in a major.
Gary Woodland set the 36-hole record — for now, anyway — after a round where his driver wasn’t as reliable. He also didn’t see many putts drop, and he didn’t hit the ball quite as well as the day before.
“I can live with that,” he said Friday after a 4-under 66.
That put him at 10-under 130, breaking the PGA Championship record by one and tying the 36-hole score for all majors.
And it was only good for a one-shot lead over Kevin Kisner.
There were two rounds of 63, one 64 and six 65s. And that was only half of the 156-man field.
Still to be determined was whether Woodland’s score even holds up as the lead. Storms arrived, forcing a two-hour suspension, and the PGA of America declared the rest of the day a wash when rain pounded the course. Rickie Fowler had just birdied the 10th hole and was at 7 under.
Tiger Woods had three birdies through seven holes as he tried to get in range.
“I felt I was headed in the right direction,” said Woods, who was at 3 under. “Tomorrow is going to be a long day for a lot of us.”
The second round was to resume at 7 a.m.
Woodland was playing with Kisner, who shot 29 on the back nine and was in the middle of the ninth fairway — his final hole — needing a birdie to become the first player to shoot 62 in the PGA Championship. He came up short of the green, chipped too strong and made bogey for a 64, leaving him one shot out of the lead.
Right in front of them was U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka, who had a 20-foot birdie putt he wanted to make for no other reason than he likes to make birdies. This one missed, and only later did Koepka realize it was for 62. Instead, he was the 15th player to shoot 63 in the PGA Championship.
“My caddie said something walking off,” Koepka said. “I didn’t even think of it. I’ve been so in the zone, you don’t know where you are.”
And then Charl Schwartzel made it 16 players with his eight-birdie round of 63.
No one from the afternoon draw completed more than 12 holes. The plan was to finish the second round, make the cut and then immediately start the third round in threesomes off both tees.
“I feel like we’re in a good spot,” Fowler said. “But the nice thing about the delay and going back out tomorrow morning, we’ll get fresh greens.”
Bellerive really had no defense.
Woodland and Kisner played in the same group, and they offered a great example that Bellerive is accommodating to just about any game. Woodland is among the most powerful players in golf. Kisner is not. He relies more on a clean hit with his irons and a great short game.
The course is so soft — not so much from Tuesday’s rain, but the extreme heat that requires more water on the turf — that every flag is accessible provided players find the ample fairways.
“Greens are receptive, so my 4-iron stops as quick as his 7-iron,” Kisner said. “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.”
Dustin Johnson, the world’s No. 1 player, had a 66 and joined Schwartzel and Thomas Pieters (66) at 133.
Jordan Spieth still has hope in his second try at a career Grand Slam. Spieth didn’t get under par for the tournament until his seventh hole — the par-3 16th hole — and he managed to do enough right for a 66 to get within seven shots of the lead.