A 63, a Spi­eth rally and a storm de­lay in PGA 2nd round

The China Post - - SPORTS - BY DOUG FER­GU­SON

The sec­ond round of the PGA Cham­pi­onship of­fered a lit­tle bit of ev­ery­thing Fri­day. Ex­cept a con­clu­sion. On one side of the golf course, Jor­dan Spi­eth was piling up enough birdies to mo­men­tar­ily tie for the lead at Whistling Straits. On the other side with far less at­ten­tion, Hiroshi Iwata ran off five birdies and an ea­gle and tied the ma­jor cham­pi­onship record with a 63.

Dustin John­son was los­ing ground in the rough and in the bunkers, fall­ing out of the lead with three bo­geys in a four-hole stretch. John Daly lost his cool and then lost a 6-iron when he heaved it in Lake Michigan.

And that was be­fore a wicked storm that packed gusts up to 48 mph and sus­pended the sec­ond round.

Jason Day ran off three straight birdies and was tied for the lead with Matt Jones at 9-un­der par when play­ers were taken off the course. The storm was se­vere enough to top­ple the main score­board at the en­trance and rip flags off the poles atop some of the grand­stands.

The round was to re­sume at 7 a.m.

Justin Rose pulled within one shot of the lead with back-to-back birdies. He headed to the 18th tee, feel­ing good about be­ing able to fin­ish.

“I opened my big mouth to the boys play­ing with us,” Rose said. “I said, ` The end is in sight.’ And 30 sec­onds later, they blew the horn. So my name is mud all over here.”

Tiger Woods, for all his strug­gles in the ma­jors this year, can at least say he made it to the week­end in three of them. He made the cut at the Mas­ters. He missed the cut on Satur­day at the wind-de­layed Bri­tish Open. There was still hope at the PGA Cham­pi­onship, though he was 4 over with five holes to play, two shots away from the pro­jected cut.

The leader­board was as clouded as the sky over Whistling Straits.

Seven play­ers had at least a share of the lead at some point Fri­day, when a strong breeze in the morn­ing gave way to steamy sun­shine and vir­tu­ally no wind un­til the storms moved in. When play­ers were evac­u­ated from the course, 11 play­ers were sep­a­rated by three shots.

David Ling­merth of Swe­den made only four pars in his wild round of 70 and was the club­house leader at 7-un­der 137. One shot be­hind was a group that in­cluded Spi­eth, the Mas­ters and U.S. Open cham­pion who is very much in the pic­ture to join Woods and Ben Ho­gan as the only play­ers to win three ma­jors in one year.

Scott Piercy (70) and Bren­dan Steele (69) joined Spi­eth at 6-un­der 138.

The star of the day was Iwata, a 34-year-old from Ja­pan who had ev­ery rea­son to think his first ap­pear­ance in the PGA Cham­pi­onship would be a short one. He opened with a 77 and still was 3 over when he reached the back nine. Iwata reeled off five birdies and an ea­gle, and he saved par on the 18th for a 63.

It was the 27th time that a player shot 63 in a ma­jor, 13 of those in the PGA Cham­pi­onship and most re­cently Jason Dufner at Oak Hill two years ago.

“When I came here, I was think­ing just to make my game bet­ter and bet­ter and on Sun­day, I can be in the top 10,” Iwata said through a trans­la­tor.

Even with a record-ty­ing score, he still has plenty of work ahead of him to do that. Iwata was at 4-un­der 140 and los­ing ground as one player af­ter another took aim at Whistling Straits in good scor­ing con­di­tions.

Day was through 14 holes while Jones, his fel­low Aus­tralian, was through 12 holes and on the front nine.

Day shared the 54-hole lead at the U.S. Open while cop­ing with ver­tigo symp­toms. He missed by one turn of the golf ball a birdie on the 18th hole at St. An­drews that would have put him in a play­off at the Bri­tish Open. Now it looks like he gets yet another chance. He was thrilled to stop play, es­pe­cially as the storm clouds turned dark and he had trou­ble with depth per­cep­tion on some of his wedges.

“We’ll see how it goes to­mor­row,” Day said. “We’ve got some scor­ing holes and some tough ones to fin­ish on. But I’m real happy to be done.”

Dustin John­son, the 18-hole leader, took a brief lead at 8 un­der un­til he ran into trou­ble on the par-5 11th with a wicked lie in the bunker that led to bo­gey. He added two more bo­geys and was four shots out of the lead at 5 un­der.

“Hope­fully, I can come back in the morn­ing and make a cou­ple birdies com­ing in, and then we’ll get the day started on Satur­day,” he said.

Rory McIl­roy had hopes of be­ing a lit­tle closer to the lead. Com­ing off an an­kle in­jury that has kept him out since the U.S. Open, he world’s No. 1 player went cold with the put­ter and had to set­tle for another round of 71 that put him at 2-un­der 142.

McIl­roy was keep­ing pace with Spi­eth un­til a big turn­around on the 18th hole at the half­way point of their round. Spi­eth holed out from a bunker for birdie, while McIl­roy went well left into knee-high hay, took two chips to reach the green and made dou­ble bo­gey.

“You’re go­ing to have to have more of a short game to be able to sal­vage par some­times,” he said. “I wasn’t quite able to do that to­day at points. But there’s still enough good stuff to give me en­cour­age­ment and make me feel that I can shoot a low one to­mor­row and get my­self back into it.”

Woods had his work cut out for him. He opened with two quick birdies, only to give them back with a dou­ble bo­gey from the bunkers on the fourth hole. As for Daly? His tour­na­ment ef­fec­tively ended on the sev­enth hole when he hit 4-iron into the lake, and then fol­lowed with two more tee shots with his 6-iron into the lake. Af­ter a fourth at­tempt found the green, Daly heaved his 6-iron into the lake and made 10. He shot 82 and missed the cut.

AP

(Left) A fan uses an um­brella for shade near the sev­enth hole dur­ing the sec­ond round of the PGA Cham­pi­onship golf tour­na­ment at Whistling Straits in Haven, Wis­con­sin on Fri­day, Aug. 14. (Right) Jason Day, of Aus­tralia, re­acts af­ter miss­ing a putt on the third hole dur­ing the sec­ond round of the PGA Cham­pi­onship golf tour­na­ment at Whistling Straits in Haven on Fri­day.

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