Golf: Kisner surges into clubhouse lead at PGA Championship

Kevin Kisner lines up a putt on the ninth green during the second round.
Kevin Kisner lines up a putt on the ninth green during the second round.PHOTO: AFP

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (REUTERS) - Kevin Kisner stamped his name on the scoreboard as the man to beat when he made a late eagle to jump into a four-stroke clubhouse lead in the PGA Championship second round on Friday (Aug 11).

The American, who started his round at the 10th hole, used his Texas wedge from off the green to sink a 47-foot putt at the par-five seventh - his 16th hole - en route to a second successive four-under-par 67 at Quail Hollow.

Making an exacting test look almost easy, he posted an eight-under 134 halfway total, while compatriot Rickie Fowler was the best of the other early starters, five behind after a 70.

Dane Thorbjorn Olesen, the joint first round leader with Kisner at four-under, was in the afternoon half of the draw.

Kisner is not ranked 25th in the world for nothing, even if his name does not carry a lot of cache.

The 33-year-old from South Carolina has won twice on the PGA Tour, and has also lost four times in playoffs.

Kisner's sizzling performance is the result of recent hard work tweaking his swing. "I've always fought a push to the right and got sick and tired of it," he said. "Hitting fairways are key.

"I'm hitting the ball really nice and things are going my way. The bad shots are working out and the good shots are working out and I'm making a lot of putts."

GOOD SWINGS

Fowler, meanwhile, was satisfied to work his way into contention after a triple-bogey early in the first round.

"I feel like I've made a lot of good swings and put myself in great position," he said. "You can't get too aggressive out there, the way the course is playing. You don't want to be playing out of the rough. I'd like to see the course keep playing the way it is. I think that separates the field a bit more and that's good in a major."

Championship favourite Rory McIlroy certainly found it tough going, with four bogeys in a five-hole stretch on his back nine, before two late birdies reversed some of the damage.

"If anything the greens were a little firmer than yesterday and some of the pin positions today are really tough," McIlroy said after a second straight 72 left him 10 shots back.

"It's very hard to get the ball close to the hole with your approach shots. I went through a bit of a bad stretch on the front nine but kind of hung in.

"Obviously, Kisner is on fire. Hopefully he slows down a little bit and gives the rest of us a chance but I still feel I'm there."

Jordan Spieth, after an opening 72, had a late tee time on Friday.

Spieth can become, at 24, the youngest player to complete a career grand slam of the major professional titles with a PGA victory.

But Kisner is likely to be the man to catch heading into the weekend, and he has plenty to hold his attention between rounds.

"I'll be plenty loose," he said. "I have a three-year-old running over me all day."