PGA Championship 2018

Americans dominate at glory's last shot

Rickie Fowler is still seeking his first Major title but has put himself in contention at the ongoing PGA Championship. The 29-year-old returned to complete his second round yesterday and was eight-under, two behind fellow American and leader Gary Wo
Rickie Fowler is still seeking his first Major title but has put himself in contention at the ongoing PGA Championship. The 29-year-old returned to complete his second round yesterday and was eight-under, two behind fellow American and leader Gary Woodland.PHOTO: REUTERS

US charge led by local boy Woodland, whose 10-under score breaks event's 36-hole record

ST LOUIS (Missouri) • Perhaps it is appropriate that the 100th playing of this Major sees the Americans firmly in control of the PGA Championship and dominating the top of the leaderboard.

On Friday when Bellerive was virtually defenceless - after thunderstorms halted the second round - those carrying the stars and stripes marched to positions of prominence. Chief among them was Gary Woodland, who carded 66 and broke the PGA Championship's 36-hole record by one with his 10-under 130 total.

Bellerive is in Missouri and Woodland, who hails from the next door state of Kansas, would be a highly popular winner of the Wanamaker Trophy should he clinch it today.

He would also be a shock one; since a share of 12th in this event - the season's final Major - in 2011, Woodland has gone 42nd, 74th, missed cut, did not play, missed cut and tied 22nd.

"I have a lot of friends out here," he said after he completed the second round, in which half the field of 156 resumed play only yesterday. "A lot of college team-mates, a lot of people from college. My parents are here. My sister's here.

"My wife and my little guy are here as well. It's pretty special to be close to home where everybody can come out and watch because I have a lot of family who have never seen me play in person."

Kevin Kisner, playing in Woodland's company, was not going to let the big hitter have it all his own way. Kisner's 64 moved him to nine under and one off the lead.

  • LEADERBOARD

  • 2ND ROUND (selected, USA unless stated)

  • 130 Gary Woodland 64 66

    131 Kevin Kisner 67 64

    132 Brooks Koepka 69 63, Rickie Fowler 65 67

    133 Dustin Johnson 67 66, Charl Schwartzel (Rsa) 70 63, Thomas Pieters (Bel) 67 66, Shane Lowry (Irl) 69 64

    134 Brandon Stone (Rsa) 66 68, Pat Perez 67 67, Justin Thomas 69 65

    135 Adam Scott (Aus) 70 65, Francesco Molinari (Ita) 68 67, Jon Rahm (Esp) 68 67, Jason Day (Aus) 67 68

    136 Justin Rose (Eng) 67 69, Tiger Woods 70 66

    137 Jordan Spieth 71 66, Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn) 68 69, Rory McIlroy (Nir) 70 67

    MISSED CUT (140) 141 Sergio Garcia (Esp) 70 71

    144 Phil Mickelson 73 71

If the appearance of this duo at the leaderboard's summit is something of a surprise, the same cannot be said for the men in pursuit. Golf's cavalry - American of course - lurk with menacing intent.

Brooks Koepka was two over after six holes of his first round; recovery from there has seen the US Open champion sign for a 69 and 63 to move to 132.

Rickie Fowler had reached seven-under before the arrival of an epic storm that led to the suspension of the second round. He returned yesterday and signed for a 67 and was tied with Koepka.

One adrift of them is Dustin Johnson, the world No. 1, following Friday's 66. "I want to get that second Major win," said 2016 US Open champion, in what marks as close to a war cry as he will ever utter.

Tiger Woods completed his second round yesterday with a 66 and was four-under, one ahead of Rory McIlroy (67).

Notable names who missed the weekend's even-par cut were Sergio Garcia (plus one) and Bubba Watson (eight over).

Jordan Spieth's chances of completing a career Grand Slam remain odds against, despite scoring improvement on day two.

The Texan added a 66 to his first-round 71, thereafter admitting his exasperation with the course layout in St Louis, giving the distinct impression he does not regard this tournament as having a Major feel.

"I'm a little frustrated at this place in general," he said.

"It's tough to come to a venue with bent grass greens and this kind of weather. This course would be phenomenal... if it's not playing so soft.

"And it's not the rain that came on Tuesday, it was like that on Monday. So you just fire in and you get away with more, like you don't have to be as precise. That's frustrating in a Major championship.

"So personally I would prefer more difficult and firmer, faster conditions on the greens."

THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

PGA CHAMPIONSHIP

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 12, 2018, with the headline 'Americans dominate at glory's last shot'. Print Edition | Subscribe