Woodland sets PGA 36-hole mark
Gary Woodland followed up a great start with a round good enough to get him in the record book Friday at the PGA Championship.
On a record day of scoring, it only gave him a one-shot lead.
And with more rain that pounded Bellerive and wiped out golf for the rest of the afternoon, Woodland wasn’t even sure he would be leading.
Woodland had a 4-under 66 and set the PGA Championship record with a 36-hole score of 130. That was barely enough for a one-shot lead over Kevin Kisner, one of three players who came to the final hole with a shot at becoming the first to post a 62 in the PGA.
Kisner, playing in the same group as Woodland, came up short of the green at No. 9 and made bogey for a 64.
Just ahead of them, two-time U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka narrowly missed a 20-foot birdie putt at No. 9. He had to settle for being the 15th player in PGA Championship history to shoot a 63.
And then Charl Schwartzel made it 16 players with his eight-birdie round of 63.
“They key is to get the ball in the fairway and attack from there,” Woodland said.
Tiger Woods, Rickie Fowler and the late starters Friday had the same idea and were on the same track until the sky darkened, thunder rumbled and storms arrived to stop play for two hours, until it rained so much the PGA called it a day.
The second round was to resume at 7 a.m. local time Saturday, and the third round — weather permitting — was to start 30 minutes after the conclusion of the second round, with threesomes starting on both sides.
No one from the afternoon side of the draw finished more than 12 holes. Woods made three birdies in five holes and was seven shots behind. Fowler overcame an early bogey with three birdies through 10 holes. He was at 7 under, three shots behind Woodland with eight holes to play.
“Guys definitely took advantage of that this morning,” Fowler said during the rain delay. “A few of us are trying to jump on that train and take advantage of it this afternoon.”
Bellerive really had no defense.
Two rounds of 63s. Another at 64. Six rounds of 65. And that was only half of the 156-man field.
“The golf course is gettable,” Woodland said. “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 were going in for just about everybody.
Woodland’s 36-hole score broke the PGA record by one shot, most recently set by Jimmy Walker and Robert Streb at Baltusrol. It also tied the 36-hole record for all majors, matching Jordan Spieth at the 2015 Masters, Martin Kaymer at the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 and Brandt Snedeker (Royal Lytham & St. Annes in 2012) and Nick Faldo (Muirfield in 1992) at the British Open.
Koepka ran off three straight birdies after he made the turn and came to the par-5 ninth at 7 under for the round. He hit his approach 20 feet above the hole and didn’t know a record was at stake — until after he missed.
“I was just trying to make the thing, and I really thought I made it,” Koepka said. “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 at 8-under 132, two shots behind.
Dustin Johnson, the world’s No. 1 player, had a 66 and joined Schwartzel and Thomas Pieters (66) at 133.