Thanks for reading this hole-by-hole report. Hope you’ll join us again tomorrow for Moving Day … and a pairing in the third-last group of Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka! Don’t be missing that one, now.
-5: Scheffler, Conners, Hovland
-3: Suh, DeChambeau
-2: Koepka, Tarren
-1: Pendrith, Rose
E: Block, Straka, Mitchell, Lee, Svensson, McIlroy, Lowry, Bradley, NeSmith
Keegan Bradley’s putt slides past the left lip, and that’s a bogey-bogey finish. A 72 today, and having at one point risen to -4, he’ll be disappointed to finish the day at level par. Bryson DeChambeau can’t make his par putt either, also missing to the left, and that’s a bogey as well. He signs for a 71 that could have been worse after a front nine of 38. He goes into the weekend well placed at -3, just two off the lead.
Keegan Bradley sends a gentle wedge straight at the flag. It releases to 12 feet. He’ll be left with a fairly straight uphill par saver. Over to Bryson, who is left with a downhill lie and can only send his splash ten feet past the pin. Meanwhile back on 9, Justin Suh tidies up for his par and signs for a 68. He goes into the weekend at -3.
Scrap that about Keegan Bradley, his ball squeaked into a fairway bunker on 18. He takes his medicine and splashes out into the semi-rough. Bryson DeChambeau meanwhile dumps his second into the bunker to the right of the green. He’s not got a lot of space to work with there. And back on 9, Justin Suh finds the middle of the green with his second, but overhits a 20-foot putt and leaves a tricky three-footer coming back. Some work for everyone still to do.
A selection of the big names to have missed the cut: Matt Fitzpatrick, Billy Horschel, Rickie Fowler, Kim Si-woo, Brian Harman, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Francesco Molinari, Luke Donald, Alex Noren, Matt Kuchar, Joaquin Niemann, Gary Woodland, Tom Kim, Jason Day, Jimmy Walker, Emiliano Grillo, Cam Young, Seamus Power, YE Yang, Danny Willett, Bob MacIntyre, Im Sung-jae, Sam Burns and Webb Simpson.
All three of the players still out on the course and bothering the upper reaches of the leaderboard find the fairway with their final drives. Bryson DeChambeau (-4) and Keegan Bradley (-1) on 18, Justin Suh (-3) at 9.
Bryson DeChambeau leaves his 40-foot putt four short, but makes no mistake with the following par putt. He remains at -4. Keegan Bradley can’t make his par saver though, and it’s a second disappointing bogey in five holes. He’s -1.
Bryson DeChambeau sends his tee shot at 17 miles right. Keegan Bradley the other way. DeChambeau has a route through the trees and powers his second into the heart of the green; Bradley enjoys less luck and has to take his medicine, punching out. He sends his third pin high to 12 feet and will have a chance of scrambling his par. Meanwhile back on 8, Justin Suh drains a putt from off the front of the green to rise to -3!
67 for Tarren
Par at 9 for Callum Tarren. A magnificent 67 by the 32-year-old from Darlington, whose only professional win has come on the China Tour at the Jiangsu Open in 2017. This would be some way to break through on the PGA Tour, huh? He’s -2.
The reigning US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick won’t be here this weekend. He pulls a six-foot par putt on the last, and at +6 his race is run. The reigning Open champ will be, though: Cameron Smith signs for a 72 that could have been so much worse after a double-bogey seven at 4 followed quickly by another couple of dropped shots at 6 and 8. He hangs on at +4.
Two putts for Jon Rahm and it’s a closing par for the Masters champion. He signs for a 68 to file alongside yesterday’s 76, and goes into the weekend at +4. All is not lost, but the expression on Rahm’s face betrays the knowledge that he’ll need a couple of out-of-this-world rounds and for everything else to fall his way.
Jon Rahm’s second into 18. Pin high, 20 feet to the left of the flag. He’ll have a look at birdie – and if he can make it, he’ll be just eight back going into the weekend – but most importantly he’s assured of making the cut, unless he suffers some sort of nervous incident with the flat stick. Meanwhile two careful putts from the front of 16 by Bryson DeChambeau and Keegan Bradley, and they remain at -4 and -2 respectively.
Jon Rahm splits the fairway at 18. Meanwhile neither Bryson DeChambeau nor Keegan Bradley can find the 16th in regulation. But all is not lost as Callum Tarren demonstrates on 8, putting up from the apron to four feet and making the par putt. He remains at -2.
Rory McIlroy speaks to Sky. “I wouldn’t say it all came together but I held it together well … it was the same as yesterday … quite erratic off the tee … I rode my luck with a couple of tee shots … on 9 and 16 they were both probably heading out of bounds but made a birdie from one and a par from the other … I finished really strongly … how badly I’ve played, to only be five off the lead is a bonus … I need to bring my stuff on the range onto the course … the struggle is half physical, half mental at this point.”
Hovland shoots 67
Pars for Keegan Bradley and Bryson DeChambeau at 15. Up on 18, it’s back-to-back bogeys for Shane Lowry, but he’s still signing for a 67 having come back in 32 blows. He’s level par, and should be content with his day’s work when the pain of the last two holes subside. Then Jordan Spieth splashes out from the sand to six feet … and steers in the putt to sign for a 72 and survive by the skin of his teeth! And then the third member of the group, Viktor Hovland, closes with a birdie after sticking his second from 180 yards to five feet! A 67 and a share of the lead! For now!
-5: Scheffler (F), Conners (F), Hovland (F)
-4: DeChambeau (15)
-3: Suh (15*)
-2: Koepka (F), Tarren (16*), Bradley (15)
-1: Rose (F), Pendrith (F), Lowry (17)
E: McIlroy (F), Svensson (F), Lee (F), Mitchell (F), Straka (F), Block (F), Lowry (F)
Bogey for Callum Tarren on 7. The result of sending his second shot wide right of the green. He slips back to -2. A big break for Jon Rahm on 17, as he flays his drive into the trees down the right, only for it to bounce back towards the fairway, from where he can force his second into the heart of the green. He’s clinging on, unlike Jordan Spieth, who is really up against it on 18, dunking his second into greenside sand while hovering on the cut at +5.
Defending champ JT survives the cut
Collin Morikawa bogeys 18 and slips to +1. He’s not pleased. Justin Thomas also bogeys, but his dominant feeling is of relief. It looked as though that error of judgement in the bunker would cost him another missed cut, a month after failing to make it at the Masters. But the defending champion is still here for the weekend. He’s +5 … and, well, still only ten shots off the lead. He won this thing from seven behind on Sunday last year.
Rory cards 69
Rory McIlroy sends a long drive down 18, then darts his second straight at the flag. He’s 15 feet short. In goes the putt, up goes the crowd, and despite having nowhere near his best stuff this week, that’s a 69 that brings him back to level par. He’s been all over the show at times, but a first major since he won this tournament in 2014 is still a live possibility. To be fair, the look on his face, and the way he blows his cheeks out in relief, suggests he knows he’s got to raise his game somewhat if he’s to properly compete … but you never know. You just never know!
Par for Corey Conners on 9, and that’s a 68 to go alongside yesterday’s 67. As things stand, he’ll be in the final pairing with Scottie Scheffler tomorrow … though there are enough players out there still able to put a stop to that caper. One of them being Bryson DeChambeau, who birdies the short par-four 14th to move to within a shot. Bogey for Shane Lowry meanwhile at 17, the punishment for a wayward drive. Don’t go in that rough, kids! Mess you up!
-5: Scheffler (F), Conners (F)
-4: Hovland (17), DeChambeau (14)
-3: Tarren (15*), Suh (14*)
-2: Koepka (F), Bradley (13)
-1: Rose (F), Pendrith (F), Lowry (17)
Potentially an undignified end to Justin Thomas’s reign as PGA champion. He’s +4, with the cut almost certainly set at +5. He finds the bunker down the right from the tee … then slams his second into the face of the bunker. Not enough loft? Not enough space? Either way, he does what he should have done second time around, but now must get up and down from 80 yards to survive the weekend. Meanwhile on 16, Rahm limits the damage to bogey, though at +4 he’s flirting with the cut again. His face: on.
Jon Rahm is still in bounds down 16, but can only advance his second into further filth to the left of the fairway. Meanwhile word of Keegan Bradley, who dropped a stroke at 13 after sending his third up a bank on the right; his tee shot at 14 clattered trees down the right, and briefly threatened to bumble off down a cart path. Thankfully for Bradley, it stopped soon enough, and he’s been able to punch his second under some branches and into the heart of the green. He should salvage his par at least to remain at -2.
66 for Brooks Koepka
Scottie Scheffler gives the par putt a good run, and it looks like dropping. But at the last turn it glides to the right and refuses to drop. A bogey to close but it’s still a fine round of 68 to go alongside yesterday’s 67. He’s -5. But his playing partner Brooks Koepka rolls in his birdie effort, and he’s back in 31 for a 66! Koepka ends the day at -2 overall. What a recovery!
-5: Scheffler (F), Conners (17*)
-4: Hovland (16)
Corey Conners gathers himself to hit a glorious bunker shot at 17 to a couple of feet. He tidies up to save his par and remain at -5. But once again Scottie Scheffler finds himself out of position after two shots on a long par-four. This time he’s chipping into 18, and leaves himself a tricky 12-footer coming back.
Elsewhere, the birdies are flying in as the rain begins to tip down again. Bryson DeChambeau makes it two in three holes at 13 to move to -3, while Justin Suh sends a tramliner into the cup at 5 to join him there. Meanwhile Brooks Koepka lands his second into 18 six feet from the flag, where he’ll have the chance to make his third birdie in the closing four holes. The moving before Moving Day.
Yeah, I've given you a bum steer there. So much for calm Jon Rahm: he hooks wildly into the trees down the left of 16 and lets rip with the loudest NO EFFING WAY of the week so far. Not sure whether that’s out of bounds or not. We’ll soon find out.
That bogey may have rattled Corey Conners. He dunks his second at 8 into a bunker guarding the front-right of the green. Meanwhile on 15, Jon Rahm takes the Scheffler route to the pin and tidies up for his third birdie in a row. All of a sudden, he’s +3, within striking distance, and most importantly for his PGA bid, calm.
Scottie Scheffler pours in his par saver on 17, and that’s an absurd scramble from what looked like an impossible position. He remains in the lead, something he now holds on his own.
-6: Scheffler (17)
-5: Conners (16*)
-4: Hovland (15)
Bother for Corey Conners on 7 all right. He can’t get up and down from the side of the green, and drops his first shot of the day. He’s out of the lead at -5. Meanwhile there are big birdies for Jon Rahm at 14 (+4), Brooks Koepka at 17 (-1), and most impressively of all, Harold Varner III, who rakes in a 25-footer at 18, his fourth birdie in the last five holes! Out in 38, he’s back in 33 for a 71, and ends the day well placed at +1.
It looks like big bother for Scottie Scheffler on 17. His tee shot goes into the deep rough down the right. He can only send his second short left. But from 60 yards, he whips his third out of cabbage, over a bunker, and pin high to eight feet. What a chance to salvage his par!
Bounce-back birdie for Jordan Spieth at 15. At +5, weekend participation is back on. Par for Viktor Hovland. And then the third member of the group, Shane Lowry, rolls in his birdie putt. That’s five birdies in six holes since the turn … and if you factor in the shot he picked up at 8, six birdies in eight. What a run!
-6: Scheffler (16), Conners (15*)
-4: Hovland (15)
-3: Tarren (14*), Bradley (12)
-2: Lowry (15), Suh (12*), DeChambeau (12*)
-1: Rose (F), Pendrith (F)
E: Lee (F), Mitchell (F), Straka (F), Block (F), Svensson (17*), Koepka (16), Morikawa (15), Burmester (12*), NeSmith (11)
Shane Lowry is making a grand charge up the standings. He covered the front nine in level-par 35, but since the turn has been burning it up: birdies at 10, 11, 13 and 14! And now he’s plopped his tee shot pin high at the par-three 15th, six feet from the flag. He’ll have that to move to -2. He was hovering by the cut line a couple of hours ago!
Scottie Scheffler is this close to raking in a long birdie effort on 16. So close to three in a row for the co-leader. But it’s a birdie on 15 for Collin Morikawa, his second in four holes, and he’s level par for the tournament. And a birdie for Jon Rahm on 13 that puts the Masters champion back inside the cutline at +5.
Viktor Hovland finds himself tight up against the O/B fence at 14. He can only punch-hack out into the bunker at the front of the green. But no matter! He gets up and down to salvage his par. He’ll stay two off the lead at -4. But disaster for his playing partner Jordan Spieth, who is hovering on the cutline at +5. Up against the lip of a bunker, he takes a full-blooded, open-faced swing at the ball – a Hail Mary effort, basically – and sends it sailing out of bounds. He drops in the bunker from where he manages to get up and down, but while that’s limited the damage, it’s a bogey and a fourth shout dropped in as many holes. At +6 he’s outside the cutline and has work to do now if he’s to play at the weekend. The completion of the career slam this week is sliding towards pipe-dream territory now.
Birdie for Bryson DeChambeau on the par-three 11th. Another for Callum Tarren, this time at the par-five 4th. And so it’s probably time to update the old leaderboard.
-6: Scheffler (15), Conners (14*)
-4: Hovland (13)
-3: Tarren (13*), Bradley (11)
-2: DeChambeau (11), Suh (11*)
Back on 14, Rory McIlroy calms himself down and chips up to four feet. In goes the birdie putt, and that’s a birdie that may restore some confidence. He’s +1 and far from out of this if he can gather himself together. Back on the tee, Viktor Hovland tries to smash the cover off the ball and nearly sends it out of bounds on the left. He’s very fortunate to see his ball slap into the surrounding fence and bounce back. He’ll be in some deep filth, but that’s better than off the property.
Scottie Scheffler is moving through the gears. He very nearly aces the 15th, utilising the left-to-right slope on the green to gather his ball to a couple of feet. He’ll have a share of the lead in a moment or two. Birdie for Brooks Koepka too, and he’s level par and all of a sudden a presence again on the leader board.
Viktor Hovland was wild off the tee at 13, yet he still should be walking off the hole here now with birdie. Having sent his second into the middle of the fairway, he fired a heatseeker at the pin from 170 yards to six feet. But he prods with great uncertainty at the straight putt, and it dies off apologetically to the right. A shame; the third shot deserved so much better. He remains at -4.
Jon Rahm nearly sends his wedge through the 12th green. The ball stops on the fringe behind the hole, and he can’t make the putt coming back. He exits stage left, effing and jeffing in an Iberian style. He’s on the wrong side of the cut now at +6. Meanwhile there’s some Ulster-inflected cursing on 14, where Rory McIlroy is caught between two minds, worried about sending his driver over the back of the green, and wafting it into the thick rough by the bunkers at the front. His mood probably not helped by the fact JT drove the green, and that up ahead Scottie Scheffler wedged out from a tight spot on the right to ten feet and calmly poured in the birdie putt. There’s a bit of order now at the top.
-6: Conners (14*)
-5: Scheffler (13)
-4: Hovland (12)
-3: Bradley (10)
-2: Tarren (12*), Suh (10*)
-1: Pendrith (F), Rose (F), DeChambeau (10)
Callum Tarren fires his tee shot at the long par-three 3rd to 12 feet. A big chance for another birdie, but he lets a fairly straight putt slide by on the left. He remains at -2. Meanwhile back to Jon Rahm, who sends his second from filth down the right of 12 to cabbage on the left. Would you pay big coin to hear his inner monologue? No, not really. You can have it for free: what he’s thinking is written all over his face. The Masters champion, world number one and pre-tournament favourite is in severe danger of missing the weekend, and he’s on a rolling boil.
Rory McIlroy sends his second at the par-five 13th into the bunker from which Brooks Koepka salvaged par. But unlike Brooks, he can’t get up and down; unlike Brooks, he’s not walking off feeling particularly happy with his par. He remains at +2 and simply can’t maintain any sort of momentum.
Jon Rahm takes an iron for safety at 12, and sends it into the thick rough down the right. Hovering on the cut at +5, he’s running at the highest temperature on his gauge. He drops his club to the floor and stares daggers at – who? His caddy? A punter? – while forcefully pulling his glove off, one finger at a time, in the manner of someone preparing to throw hands in the gentlemanly style. The coverage cuts away, the TV director presumably without experience in live comedy. Shame.
Not for the first time this week, Callum Tarren rakes in a long birdie putt. This one at the 2nd, where he moves to -2. Meanwhile Corey Conners zig-zags his way up the par-five 4th, but gets up and down from the front of the green to remain two clear at -6. And there’s a fine sandy save by Brooks Koepka at 13, something the crowd enjoy as he keeps in touch at +2.
The seer. On Sky Sports, Paul McGinley is predicting a “flurry of birdies” as a result of the softer greens … and the fact that, for a few big names who aren’t quite in the position they’d like to be, it’s “go time”. Mandelbaum! Mandelbaum! And he’s right, you know. Collin Morikawa sends one over the flag at 12 and tickles in the left-to-right downhill putt coming back. Two birdies in three holes, and the 2020 champion is +1. Meanwhile Justin Thomas nearly screws in his approach at the same hole for eagle; a tap-in birdie gets him back to the correct side of the cut at +5.
Another big putt by Keegan Bradley. He can’t reach the 8th in regulation after another wayward tee shot, but ends up sinking a 20-footer from the fringe to remain at -3. Meanwhile one of the shots of the day from Viktor Hovland from a greenside bunker at 11. Needing to cover 80 feet, he splashes out aggressively and screeches his ball to a halt a couple of feet from the flag. A spectacular way to save par, one the gallery very much enjoyed.
The reigning champion Justin Thomas is really up against it now. He sends an awful tee shot at the par-three 11th into the water on the right. After dropping, he hits a hot chip well past the flag, and can’t make the one coming back. A double, and at +6 he’s now on the wrong side of the cutline … which is currently at +5 and, if you listen to those in the know, unlikely to move out. Meanwhile bounce-back birdie for Brooks Koepka on 12, the reward for sending an approach over the flag to six feet. He’s back to +1.
Keegan Bradley guides home his right-to-left slider for bogey at 7. That’s some welcome damage-limitation. Meanwhile up on 10, Viktor Hovland rolls in a 17-footer to take his place in a share of second, and there’s a par for the leader Corey Conners on the long par-three 3rd.
-6: Conners (12*)
-4: Hovland (10), Scheffler (11)
-3: Bradley (7)
-2: Suh (7*)
Unlike his playing partner Bryson DeChambeau at 6, Keegan Bradley doesn’t find his ball plugged in the bunker on 7. That allows him to splash out without too much fuss … but he can’t stop the ball rolling a good ten feet past the hole. Big bogey putt coming up for a player currently tied for second.
Bother for Keegan Bradley on 7. He sends his tee shot into the creek down the right, then after dropping dunks his third into a bunker to the left of the green. Short-sided, he’ll not fancy the splash out. Meanwhile on 11, Brooks Koepka fails to get up and down from sand and gives his first birdie of the day back to the field at the very first opportunity. He’s +2 again. An up and down for his playing partner Scottie Scheffler to remain at -4.
Viktor Hovland gets up and down from a bunker guarding the front of 9 for a street-fighting par. He turns in 34 and remains at -3. Elsewhere, there’s some flag-peppering going on. Jordan Spieth at 9 for birdie to move to +2; Justin Thomas at 10 for a walk-in birdie that brings him inside the cut line at +4; Collin Morikawa, over the flag at 10 for a birdie to move to +1; Corey Conners pin high at 2 for a 15-foot birdie that doubles his lead; and Rory McIlroy, with the best approach of them all, powered from the thick rough down the right of 10, over a bunker to four feet … but his birdie effort never looks like dropping, always missing on the high side. That’s golf for you! McIlroy stays at +2 and that’s a huge opportunity passed up.
-6: Conners (11*)
-4: Scheffler (10), Bradley (6)
-3: Hovland (9)
Hats off to Bryson DeChambeau. The collar of rough around the 6th green is an issue when he pulls back his putter, but he still manages to nudge a 30-footer to kick-in distance. Hoping it would drop, obviously, but making sure not to get too aggressive and make things any worse than they needed to be. It’s a double, though, and he drops down to -1.
Bryson DeChambeau is indeed plugged in the bunker at 6. He tries to get too cute with his splash out, and his ball apologetically flops back into the sand. He batters the next one out, but way past the flag, so much so that it nestles on the collar at the back of the green. He’ll do well to get down in two for a double. Meanwhile a first birdie of the day for Brooks Koepka at 10 – he’s +1 - while Rory McIlroy holes a monster across 9 and rises to +2. An unlikely putt, from the bottom of the swale at 2, gave him some impetus yesterday. Could the same thing happen today?
Corey Conners sends his second at 1 to eight feet. He cocks his head back in Pez-dispenser-style irritation as the birdie putt shaves the right-hand edge of the cup. He remains at -5. Meanwhile some potential bother for Bryson DeChambeau down the long, long, long par-four 6th, as he slam-dunks his approach into a deep bunker full of wet sand. Potential for plugging high.
McIlroy’s visit to Allens Creek at 7 led to an inevitable bogey. He’s steadied the ship with par at 8 but needs to put something together quickly … or at least stop making careless mistakes. He’s +3.
On 16, Callum Tarren nearly drains a long birdie putt but settles for a tap-in par that keeps him four off the lead at -1. Meanwhile some fairly uneventful two-putt pars for Keegan Bradley and Bryson DeChambeau at the par-three 5th. A distinct lack of energy around Oak Hill at the moment. Injection of excitement, please!
A brilliant par for Corey Conners on 18. He sends his drive into a bunker down the right, then in laying up from it, sends his ball into the thick rough down the same side. But he’s able to land his chip softly and roll it up to six feet, from where he completes the scramble. He turns in 33 and remains a shot in the lead at -5.
The rain’s coming down again. Not particularly pleasant to be out in, but it’s softening the course and increasing the opportunity of making up a few shots.
A big par save for Scottie Scheffler at 8. Short of the green, he doesn’t chip up particularly close but makes the six-footer he leaves himself to stop his following up a first bogey of the week with an immediate second. Meanwhile a couple of early birdies for Darlington’s finest, Callum Tarren, at 12 and 14.
-5: Conners (8*)
-4: Scheffler (8), Bradley (4)
-3: Hovland (6), DeChambeau (4)
-2: Suh (4*)
-1: Pendrith (F), Rose (F), Lee (10), Kitayama (9*), Tarren (6*)
The leader Corey Conners drives into the rough down the right of 17, then bumps his second towards the apron of the green. He elects to putt from 60 feet, and doesn’t give it enough oomph. He’s left with a ten-foot par saver … and he makes it. A huge save after a hole played fairly poorly. He remains at -5. Meanwhile back on the par-five 4th, Keegan Bradley walks in a 25-footer for birdie to move to -4, while Bryson DeChambeau pulls a six-foot birdie effort wide left, a shame after a glorious Seve-esque bump out of the trees on the left. He remains at -3.
… so McIlroy, having narrowly escaped making two visits to the water on 6, takes an iron for safety on 7. No prizes. He sends his tee shot into the blue vagueness down the right. Oh Rory. The crowd have his back, and cheer him on sympathetically, but there’s only so much they can do. Meanwhile it’s back-to-back bogeys for the 2020 champion Collin Morikawa at 5 and 6, and he slips to +2.
Scottie Scheffler makes his first bogey of the week. He slam-dunks his approach at 7 into a pot bunker at the front of the green, then misjudges his bash out, sending his ball looping ten feet past the flag. He nearly drains the putt coming back, but it stays out stubbornly on the left lip, and Corey Conners is now the sole leader of the 2023 PGA Championship.
-5: Conners (7*)
-4: Scheffler (7)
-3: Hovland (5), Bradley (3), DeChambeau (3)
-2: Suh (3*)
Some news of Rory McIlroy. Five straight pars to start, followed by some zig-zagging down 6. He finds the creek with his tee shot, then nearly sends his third into the drink on the other side, Max Homa style. He gets lucky as the ball snags on the bank, then chips up to eight feet and rolls in the putt, limiting the damage of a poor hole to bogey. He’s +2, and that could have been a lot worse.
Bryson DeChambeau finds the back-left portion of the par-three 3rd green. Only problem being, the pin’s front right. He’s left with a monster 70-foot putt, and the break isn’t the easiest to read. His first putt ends up turning right very early, and ending up 12 feet short. He nearly drains the par putt, but his ball shaves the left-hand side of the cup and the first-round leader is suddenly two off the pace. Meanwhile Justin Suh nearly back-spins his wedge into the cup at 12 and tidies up for a birdie that puts the 25-year-old Californian, who tied for sixth at the Players, right in the thick of it!
-5: Conners (6*), Scheffler (5)
-3: Hovland (5), Bradley (3), DeChambeau (3)
-2: Suh (3*)
Corey Conners tickles his downhill birdie putt at 15 straight into the cup. He grabs a share of the lead. Incidentally, the wind has dropped significantly, as has the rain, and the softer course is now offering up more opportunity than the forecasts predicted it would. So this could be a very interesting afternoon of golf.
-5: Conners (6*), Scheffler (5)
-4: DeChambeau (2)
-3: Hovland (5), Bradley (2)
-2: Svensson (7*)
Gary Woodland makes one of the pars of the week! His tee shot at the par-three 5th flies into a bunker guarding the front of the green and sits up against the lip on the right. He’s got no backswing. No shot. So he takes his medicine, nudging his ball back into the centre of the green by tapping it with a fairway wood. Then he splashes out and straight into the cup. It had to be! The 2019 US Open champion is right on the projected cutline at +5 so every little helps! A huge smile as he gets out of Dodge unscathed.
The 2011 champion Keegan Bradley steers in a big right-to-left swinger on 2 for a birdie that moves him to -3. A 20-footer for Ryan Fox on 17 to return to -1. And Corey Conners misses a very makeable birdie putt on 14, but will have another look at the accessible par-three 15th after knocking his tee shot over the flag to six feet. He was unlucky his ball didn’t bite a little harder and spin back, because had it done so, he could have been very close to an ace.
Scottie Scheffler hasn’t made a bogey yet this week. The way this course is playing, that’s almost super-human. But he’s got to navigate the hardest hole on the course now: the 503-yard par-four 6th. So many players have come a cropper here, with Allens Creek snaking either side of it … but he wallops another mammoth drive down the middle. At the moment, there doesn’t appear to be a chink in the reigning Players champion’s armour.
Min Woo Lee responds to that adversity by raking in a birdie putt across 6! He returns to -1. Back on 1, Bryson DeChambeau muscles his second into the green from the thick rough; two putts later and that’s an opening par. He’s -4. Keegan Bradley also makes a four to stay at -2.
A couple of backward steps by Ryan Fox. Bogeys at 15 and 16 and suddenly he’s no longer in red figures. Level par, as is Collin Morikawa after birdie at 4. Meanwhile Min Woo Lee becomes the latest victim of the treacherous 503-yard par-four 6th; a bogey to end that blistering opening run of four birdies in five holes. He’s also level par.
Corey Conners flashes his third at the par-five 13th straight at the flag. He rolls the uphill eight-footer he leaves himself, and moves to within a shot of the lead. He’s one of three Canadians in the top seven alongside Adam Svensson and Taylor Pendrith. Could Canada be celebrating its second men’s major champion this week, after Mike Weir’s 2003 Masters win?
-5: Scheffler (4)
-4: Conners (4*), DeChambeau
-3: Hovland (3)
-2: Svensson (6*), Bradley
-1: Pendrith (F), Rose (F), Stevens (6*), Kitayama (5*), Suh (1*)
Earlier on in the day, on Sky, Dame Laura Davies suggested that someone may ace the par-three 15th on account of the friendly pin position. That big call nearly comes to pass a couple of times in the space of a minute, as Sam Stevens and Adam Svensson take turns to land their tee shots front and slightly right of centre of the green, allowing the camber to gather the ball towards the hole. They’ll both tidy up for birdies that will take them to -1 and -2 respectively.
The first-round leader Bryson DeChambeau takes to the tee. He sends his opening drive down the left and into the thick rough. One bounce and it moves no further. Keegan Bradley is going round with him, starting a couple of shots behind: his drive goes down the same side of the hole but stays on the fairway. Meanwhile up on 3, Viktor Hovland fails to get up and down from the bunker at the front of the green to hand one of his birdies back. He’s -3.
Weather. It’s started to rain at Oak Hill. Hopefully no threat of thunder. Elsewhere …
The 2008 champion Padraig Harrington has also started fast. Birdies at 10 and 11 and you can be damn sure the 51-year-old Dubliner reckons he can break Phil Mickelson’s record as the oldest major winner in history. The three-time major champion thinks no other way.
Min Woo Lee has absolutely flown out of the traps this afternoon. Birdies at 1, 2, 4 and now 5, and the 24-year-old Aussie’s bid to match his sister Minjee in winning a major championship – big sis won the 2021 Evian and the 2022 US Open - is very much on. He’s -1. Meanwhile birdie for Jon Rahm at 2 and he moves to +5, inside the current cut line.
Anything Scottie Scheffler can do, Viktor Hovland can match! He follows up birdie at 1 with another at 2, reward for an approach fired straight at the flag from 150 yards. Meanwhile it’s two putts on 9 for Justin Rose, and that’s a street-fighting round of 70. He’s -1 going into the weekend, and could perhaps do with some time on the range because if he continues to drive like a maniac, he’s got no chance this weekend. Just the dozen players under par right now.
-5: Scheffler (3)
-4: Hovland (2), DeChambeau
-3: Conners (3*)
-2: Fox (5*), Bradley
-1: Pendrith (F), Rose (F), Lee (5), Svensson (4*), Kitayama (3*), Suh
E: Block (F), Straka (F), Mitchell (F), Stevens (4*), Harrington (2*), NeSmith
Ryan Fox has left a couple of birdie putts short early on today. He gives his 20-foot effort on 14 enough, though, but misses it by a whisker to the right. A five-par start for the New Zealander, who has had quite a few sleepless nights recently: a bout of pneumonia followed by the birth of a baby. He’s -2 overall.
… but Rahm’s birdie putt misses on the low side, and he has to make do with an opening par. He remains at +6. Meanwhile on 9, Justin Rose finds only his second (!) fairway of the day, then nearly finds his 10th green in regulation … but the ball topples into the fringe at the back. He shouldn’t have too much trouble taking two putts from 15 feet for par and a level-par round of 70, though.
Jon Rahm could do with a fast start after yesterday’s surprisingly dismal 76. He could get one, too, wedging his second into 1 pin high to six feet. Someone who’s already flown out of the blocks: Scottie Scheffler, who leaves himself a 60-foot putt across the par-three 3rd. It’d be easy to three-putt from where he is, but he lags to a couple of feet, and tidies up to remain one in the lead at -5. A three-par start for his playing partner Brooks Koepka, who remains at +2. Meanwhile a par-par start for Rory McIlroy who remains at +1 after yesterday’s 71.
Thanks David. May as well mark the moment of Scottie-esque ascension with the latest leaderboard. Here ‘tis … featuring the fruits of an opening 20-foot birdie putt by Viktor Hovland.
-5: Scheffler (2)
-3: Hovland (1), Conners (1*)
-2: Fox (4*), Bradley
-1: Pendrith (F), Rose (17*), Svensson (3*), Suh
We have a new leader! Scottie Scheffler opens birdie-birdie after holing an eight footer at No. 2. An ominous start. Back at 1, Rory chips to five feet and holes his par putt. He’ll walk to the second tee six back from the man at the summit. And with that, I’ll hand you back to the leader’s namesake Scottie Murray.
Rory’s drive at 1 was buried and his short iron from the deep stuff pulls up short of the green. Up at 7, Rose’s trickly downhill putt from six feet or so has no conviction and dribbles to the right for a second straight bogey. Back to -1. Patrick Cantlay has the round of the day going and playing 17 of these bad boys in 4-under has hoisted him 63 spots up the leaderboard to tied 10th. And, just as I write that, he bogeys the final hole. Still, a 67 is wonderful work and he’s met Dustin Johnson coming the other way. DJ also finishes at +1 following a 74 and the two Americans are five back and in a tie for 18th.
Some numbers: 3, 1, 25, 1, 3, 7, 1, 2, 1, 1, 5, 1, 15, 9, 26, 1, 5, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1. So what are these? They’re the halfway positions of every US PGA winner this century. Over half (12 of 23) actually had the halfway lead so that feeds into the idea (which the TV bods gloss over) that it’s a bloody massive help if you’re in the thick of contention and, ideally, leading the way. Weekend comebacks from way down the leaderboard on hard courses just don’t happen.
This is true of all majors. Just two winners of the US Open this century were outside the top six at halfway; every Masters since 2000 has been in the top 12 after 36 holes; just two winners of the Open Championship were outside the top 13 at the midpoint. So there you go. If Jon Rahm (+6) wins from here, I’ll eat my golf hat.
And finally DeChambeau will have company at the top of the leaderboard. Scheffler wedges his approach to kick-in range at the 1st and that’ll be an opening birdie. Back down that opening hole, Rory McIlroy puts his tee in the ground, takes in the applause, twitches his muscles and finds rough down the left-hand side. Not ideal but probably nothing to be concerned about.
Scottie Scheffler somehow went bogey free in his Thursday 67 yesterday – a round that left him in second place after round one - and the 2022 Masters champion finds the edge of the fairway with his opening tee shot. Brooks Koepka (+2) thumps one down the middle while Gary Woodland (+3), the final member of this monster-hitting trio of major winners, fades one into the short stuff. Meanwhile, Justin Rose makes bogey at 6, his 15th, despite finding his first fairway of the round. Golf eh! Knowing chuckles all round. Rose back to -2.
World No. 51 Keith Mitchell describes himself as “scatterbrained at times” while talking to Sky’s Nick Dougherty. But his caddie is keeping him on the straight and narrow – an apt term given that he ranks 1st in Total Driving (a measure of length and accuracy) on the PGA Tour this season – and Mitchell is currently T10 on the leaderboard after backing up his opening 69 with a 1-over 71 today. Also, am I the only one who thinks of this whenever I hear his name?
In ‘there’s more than one way to skin a cat news’, leader Bryson DeChambeau ranks 1st for Strokes Gained: Off The Tee while second-placed Justin Rose is 129th in that category. Rose’s smoke and mirrors round looks to be spluttering a little at 6 though where, irony klaxon, he’s finally hit a fairway. A loose second to the right of the green and a chip which runs 20 feet away from the hole leaves him staring at bogey.
Tyrrell Hatton knocks in a 15-footer for birdie at 8, his penultimate hole. That elevates the Englishman to +4 overall and now probably safely inside the cut line which is projected to be at +5 on the official leaderboard but likely to go to +6 given how tough conditions are. Hatton will be kicking himself – and there’s a fair chance the combustible rascal will actually do that later – after playing his first nine holes in +7 yesterday. Still, this is a mighty fine recovery and he’s -3 on his second round after trading four birdies against a single birdie today.
Canada's strong showing explained
The clubhouse leader right now is Taylor Pendrith. You’ll see plenty of Canadian flags on the leaderboard: Corey Conners at -3 (T2), Pendrith -1 (T8), Adam Svensson Evs (T10) and Adam Hadwin +1 (T20). Any reason for that? Well, despite this being billed as a New York major, Oak Hill Country Club is far nearer to Toronto (173 miles) than Manhattan (336 miles). As Pendrith said after completing his 69 today: “There’s so much support. Tons of Canadians here, with the border being so close.” And this was quite an interesting line from Conners after his opening 67: “I’ve been excited to get here to Oak Hill for a while. It just has a little bit of a Canadian feel, like I’m playing back home. Familiar with the grass. Yeah, tight fairways, deep rough, small greens. That’s what you’ve got here.”
Thanks Scott. Sky just showing images of Rory McIlroy looking fairly chirpy on the practice range. He’ll be out in just over 30 minutes alongside two other winners of the, quite frankly, massive Wanamaker Trophy: Justin Thomas and Collin Morikawa. McIlroy looked to be heading in the wrong directon yesterday – loose swings, hand coming off the club, general befuddlement – but recovered well. In fact, a quick scan of the current leaderboard and he’s in a tie for 20th at +1. That’s just five back from Bryson DeChambeau, who’ll smash his opening tee shot at 7.31pm UK time.
Two putts for Phil on 6, but that’s a double-bogey six and he drops to +5. The cut’s currently +4 but will surely move out … though that doesn’t mean Mickelson has too much in the way of wriggle room. One or two additional mistakes and he could be toast. Meanwhile DJ chips to eight feet from the back of 7 and rattles in the uphill putt he leaves himself. That’s a fine up and down that keeps him at level par.
… and with that, I’ll hand you over to David Tindall. See you again soon!
I did Lefty a disservice: his third didn’t go into the creek down the left of 6, but hung on the bank nearby, DJ style. His chip up isn’t all that, though, an uncharacteristically timid prod that reaches the middle of the green before doubling back on itself and leaving Mickelson with a long two-putt for par. Meanwhile back on 4, Justin Rose lags up from distance and taps in for par to remain at -3.
This isn’t even news any more, but here we go: Justin Rose misses another fairway. This time down the left of the par-five 4th. He again takes his medicine and wedges out, unable to take a shy at the green. He then gets away with a poorly directed chip that pings off the shoulder of a bunker and makes it to the green, though he’ll have a long putt for par. Meanwhile up on 6, Phil Mickelson makes like Max Homa, getting wet right, then wet again left. And to complete a triptych of Oak Hill giving major-championship winners a good kicking, Dustin Johnson misses the fairway left at 7 and finds himself through the back of the green in two. Good luck everyone!
Dustin Johnson leaves his chip up from the side of 6 well short. He can’t make the long bogey put he’s left himself, and that’s a costly double bogey. Can’t remember who on the Sky commentary said DJ was playing some stuff comparable with his 2020 peak; that may well be true, but he’s also throwing in a fair share of the slapstick-infused nonsense he used to regularly serve up during the 2010-2015 meltdown years. He’s level par overall, which seems about right given that mix of styles.
The sensational club pro Michael Block speaks to Sky. “I’ve got the best job in the world … to be here at Oak Hill and to make the cut is an amazing thing … the Rochester folks have been amazing every day … [making the cut] has been the last goal in my golf career and I’m excited about that … my game’s actually pretty good … I think I can compete and have a nice finish and make my wife happy!”
Phil Mickelson fancies sticking around for the weekend. Draining a tramliner on 5 for a birdie that takes him back to +3 is therefore just the ticket. The gallery enjoyed that.
Patrick Cantlay is having the best round of the morning wave. He’s now four under today after making birdie at the par-five 4th. All the pain of yesterday’s 74 now erased, and he’s back to level par. Meanwhile up on 6, DJ does his level best to replicate Max Homa’s farcical progress up the hole, but having found water with his tee shot, can’t quite pull his third enough to reach the creek on the other side. Instead the ball stops short in the thick rough. A tricky up and down coming up for bogey, though.
Max Homa sets about making an enormous balls of the monster par-four 6th. He sends his tee shot into the drink down the right, then having dropped, sends his third into the creek on the left. Having popped down a new ball for the second time in short order, he gets up and down for a double-bogey six. As Rich Beem points out on Sky, “he only hit it four times.” He’s +2. Meanwhile back on the tee, Dustin Johnson sends a wild slice into the water on the right. Tom Kim got away lightly on this hole yesterday by comparison.
Dustin Johnson sends his tee shot at the par-three 5th into the heart of the green … then curls in a left-to-right swinger from 20 feet for birdie. He modestly raises his putter in celebration well before it drops, knowing he’s made the perfect roll. He moves back to -2.
Another outrageously bad drive by Justin Rose, this time into a bunker down the right of 2. He can’t reach the green from there … but takes his medicine again, then gets up and down from 70-odd yards again! Another outrageously good scramble, then. But he can’t keep carrying on like this. At some point, his Seve-esque wildness off the tee will surely catch up with him. But he remains at -3 for now.
Club pro Michael Block makes the weekend
Xander Schauffele bounces back from that ugly double at 3 with birdie at the par-five 4th. He’s +4. Taylor Pendrith bogeys his last hole – the 9th – as a result of a wayward drive and a weak chip in. But that’s a second-round 69 for the 31-year-old Canadian, who is -1 for the tournament. And a sandy par for his playing partner Michael Block, who cards his second 70 of the week. At level par, the 46-year-old club pro will qualify for the weekend with ease and hopefully, the way he’s playing, earn himself a tidy sum while doing so. He throws his arms wide open in celebration, and gets the ovation from the gallery he deserves. A few selfies too! The celebrity life.
News of The Internet’s Tom Kim. After starting out with bogeys at 1 and 5, followed by a double at 7, he looked to have potentially salvaged the situation with birdies at 8 and 10. But three bogeys in the next four holes, at 11, 12 and 14, look to have done for the 20-year-old South Korean. He’s currently +8, and while the projected cut is expected to move significantly out from its current position at +4, Kim has plenty of work to do if he’s to hang around for the weekend. Ah well, he’ll always have Allens Creek.
Justin Rose rolls the par putt at 1 into the cup and that’s a fine save. He walks off smiling, having avoided the fate of consecutive bogeys. He remains one off the lead at -3.
Trouble for Justin Rose on 1. He’s been all over the shop with his driver today, and he sends another one miles right here. Snookered behind a tree, he’s forced to chip out, but at least gives himself chance to salvage par by sending a dart to six feet. News when we have it. Meanwhile birdies for Max Homa on 4 (back to level par) and Keith Mitchell on 15 (to return to -1).
DJ does pretty darn well to hold the green with his post-shank wedge at 3. His ball threatens to topple off the false front and back down the hole, but it stops on the fringe. He’s left with a 45-foot putt that he sends five feet past. He tidies up to limit the damage to bogey and slips back to -1. Meanwhile his playing partner Xander Schauffele takes two to get out of the deep bunker guarding the front and ends up running up double. He’s +3 all of a sudden … and he really doesn’t like these opening holes, does he? That’s now seven shots dropped on holes 1, 2 and 3 during the first two rounds.
Mito Pereira will always remember his 72nd-hole heartbreak at Southern Hills last year. So near and yet so far. But the 28-year-old Chilean seems determined not to let the memory become a burden, and after yesterday’s 72, is making a fine run up the leaderboard. Birdies at 13, 15 and now 1 take him into credit at -1.
“Shanked it!” Anything Michael Block can do, DJ can do better, and he sends his tee shot at the par-three 3rd straight right. Meanwhile here’s Taylor Pendrith, backing up Corey Conners’ Canadian charge; the 31-year-old from Ontario is making his PGA Championship debut and has just drained a 40-footer on 7 for his third birdie of the front nine, following shots picked up at 1 and 3. And finally Justin Rose falls out of a share of the lead, the result of his drive finding thick rough down 18.
-3: Rose (9*), Scheffler, Conners
-2: Pendrith (16*), Scott (12*), D Johnson (11*), Fox, Hovland, Bradley
Michael Block can’t make his birdie on 6, but that’s a par he’d have eagerly snaffled with both hands after the events of 5. He remains at level par. Meanwhile another dropped shot for Max Homa, the result of a duffed chip at 3; he’s +1. But Dustin Johnson starts turning things around with a fine shot into the heart of 2 and a 12-footer rolled into the cup for birdie. He returns to -2.
To illustrate just how hard Oak Hill is playing this week, here comes Sam Burns. The 26-year-old from Louisiana has already won five times on tour, including this year’s World Match Play. He’s also got a second-place finish at the WGC Invitational on his résumé (2019) plus four top-ten finishes on Tour this season. In short, Burns is the real deal … and today, right now, he’s +10 for his round through 11 holes. Two triple bogeys, at 2 and 4, followed by double bogey at 6 tend to scramble the mind. He’s +14 overall and won’t be here for the weekend, during which he can lick his wounds. Burns hasn’t figured in a major championship yet, but his time will surely come. Not this week, though.
A fine par save for Justin Rose at 17. He hits a fine drive down the track, but the camber of the fairway takes his ball into the rough to the left. His second tips over the back of the green, but he bumps to four feet and tidies up … no mean feat given the yip of yesterday. He remains at -7 alongside Bryson DeChambeau at the top.
Sepp Straka yips from 18 inches on 13. He drops a shot and slips back to level par. You can’t be handing shots back to the field like that … but then again, Justin Rose missed one from similar distance yesterday afternoon, and look where he is now. You can recover. Speaking of recoveries, Michael Block, coming off the back of that shanktastic shambles at 5, creams two shots straight up the lengthy par-four 6th and into the heart of the green in comfortable regulation. He’ll have a look at birdie from 15 feet on the hardest hole on the course. He smiles warmly, having just tasted the distilled tincture of golf in its purest form.
Justin Rose rails in a 30-footer on 16 to join Bryson DeChambeau in the lead! Meanwhile a double for the overnight leader Eric Cole, having gotten wet at 6. He’s back to level par and having a stinker of a day. Time for a leaderboard update, then.
-4: Rose (7*), DeChambeau
-3: Conners, Scheffler
-2: Davis (14*), Scott (9*), Bradley, Hovland, Fox
-1: Pendrith (14*), Mitchell (12), Straka (12), D Johnson (9*), Suh
Let’s lift the mood with news of Tyrrell Hatton. He makes his third birdie of the morning, this time at 18, and he’s played the back nine in 32. He’s still +4, but the wind continues to pick up and it’s not going to get any easier for the later starters, so if he can pick up one or two more, he’ll be back within striking distance ahead of Moving Day.
Uh-oh. Nobody wants to use that word, especially not when we’re reporting on one of the PGA Team of 20. But poor Michael Block – who let’s remember as a 46-year-old club pro has been beyond brilliant this week - has just hit a full shank straight right at the par-three 5th … and almost certainly out of bounds. But hold on! Has the ball hit a tree? A house over the fence?! Because it’s come back into the thick rough just beyond the front tee. What a huge break … though with the nerves now clattering, he can only send his second into a bunker front left. At least he didn’t leave it short in more rough. But he’s still short-sided, and can only splash out to 15 feet. He’ll have that for bogey. He can’t make it, and it’s a double that crashes him back to level par. He’s played the last two holes 6-5, dropping three shots in the process, and has the hardest hole on the course coming up, the 503-yard par-four named Double Trouble. Godspeed.
A big chance for Max Homa to get back into credit on 18. He swishes a lovely approach from 150 yards pin high to seven feet, and the remaining putt is fairly straight. But he lets it slide by the right of the cup and remains at level par for the tournament. Meanwhile up on 4, Michael Block pushes a wedge into the bunker to the right of the green, taking on the pin tucked away on that side. Left short-sided, he can’t get up and down, and that’s a bogey six on the hole that yesterday was playing easiest of the lot. The PGA club pro drops back to -2.
… and it’s back-to-back bogeys for Dustin Johnson too. He can only hack a wild drive on 17 back into the fairway, and though he nearly salvages the situation by wedging his third to seven feet, the following putt’s pulled and all of a sudden he’s back in the pack at -1.
It’s consecutive bogeys for Max Homa. This latest one, at 17, is the result of coming up short with his approach and ending up in the bunker guarding the front of the green. In truth he did pretty well to get down in three from where he’d found himself. But he’s back to level par … and he’s still only carded one par this morning. Four birdies and three bogeys!
One heck of an up and down by Michael Block at the par-three 3rd. He sails his tee shot over the green and down the back of a hill covered in filthy rough. But he swishes up to six feet, and tidies up to save his par and remain at -3. Dustin Johnson won’t be staying there, though, after getting too aggressive in going straight at the flag on 16. His ball takes one bounce left and scuttles off down a huge swale like a mouse with some cheese in its slavering maw. He can only chip back up to 20 feet, and that’s a bogey that drops him back to -2.
Tommy Fleetwood finished fifth last year, thanks to a late Sunday Southern Hills birdie blitz that whisked him from +1 to -3 between 14 and 17. Having shot 72 yesterday and bogeyed 12 this morning, he could do with something similar this week, at some point. Perhaps trundling in a chip from the front of 17 for birdie will spark something. He’s +2, and in even better news for Southport’s finest, Everton are almost certainly staying up this season, aren’t they?
They pick them up, they hand them back. That’s Oak Hill in the wind for you. Bogeys for Max Homa and Adam Scott at 16; they slip to -1 and -2 respectively. Meanwhile back on 15, Patrick Cantlay is very fortunate to get away with dropping just one stroke: having sent his tee shot at the short par-three wide left, he hits a hot chip through the green, and it looks to be heading down a swale, from where he’d be short-sided. But there’s enough grass on the bank to stop it rolling down too far, and though he hits a distinctly average chip back past the flag, he rolls in the four-footer he leaves himself for bogey. He’s +2.
Patrick Cantlay went into the tournament as fourth favourite, if memory serves … so don’t quote me, but y’know. His odds will have lengthened considerably after yesterday’s 74, but he’s fixing a lot of the damage today, starting out with birdies at 10, 12 and now 14. He’s back to +1, while Xander Schauffele’s similar (and aforementioned) tournament trajectory continues apace: birdie at 15 to follow his earlier one at 13, and he’s level par, just four off the lead. A reminder that he was four over after the first three holes yesterday. Could a similar narrative to Jon Rahm’s opening four-putt double at the Masters be developing?
Another birdie for Adam Scott! He clips his tee shot pin high to eight feet, and in goes the putt. His playing partner Max Homa pops one in too, and that’s his fourth in five holes. They’re -3 and -2 respectively. Scott sits alongside Michael Block, who birdies 1, and Justin Rose, who rakes in a long one across 12. It, to borrow a quote from Billy Liar’s favourite comic Danny Boon, is all happening.
-3: Block (10*), Scott (6*), D Johnson (5*), Rose (3*), Conners, Scheffler
Eric Cole continues where he left off earlier this morning: heading in the wrong direction. An opening bogey at 1 and the overnight leader drops to -2. Problems also for Thomas Pieters, who bogeys 6 and 7 to undo all of his good work today. He’s back where he started at -1.
Bounce-back birdies at 14 for Adam Scott (-2) and Max Homa (-1). Then coming behind, Tyrrell Hatton, who is doing a decent job of repairing some of the damage from yesterday’s 77. Having opened with birdie at 10, he makes a second of the day here, albeit in unconventional fashion: his wedge in spins back into the thick fringe, but then he bumps and releases from 30 feet straight into the cup. He’s +5. Par for DJ.
The wind has picked up. So much so that DJ, who can usually reach the bunkers in front of the short par-four 14th with ease, ends up 60 yards short of them. It’s swirling as well. So what will be going through Tom Kim’s mind as he tees it up on 6, where yesterday he ended up covered cap to boots in mud? Especially as he’s decked head to toe today in pristine white duds?! Serenity, is what. He lashes it down the middle and saunters off insouciantly. He is however currently +5, a couple outside the current projected cut of +3 … but the mood music suggests that cut will move out by at least a couple of shots, maybe even three or four, as the wind does its thing.
Dustin Johnson’s had an unfortunate start. Three straight pars, but a lip-out for birdie at 10 and a shave of the left-hand edge from 25 feet at 12. Somewhere in the multiverse, he’s got a couple of birdies to his name already today. He’ll keep on keepin’ on. He’s -3. Meanwhile Xander Schauffele tickles in a downhill 12-footer for birdie at 13, and the major-championship nearly man rises to +1. Had he not started bogey/double/bogey yesterday, he’d be one off the lead. But he’s still very much in it.
Yep, bogeys as expected for Adam Scott and Max Homa on 13. They’re back to -1 and level par respectively. An opening birdie for Justin Rose at 10; he’s -2. Meanwhile it’s been a typically spectacular start to the day for Phil Mickelson. A drive as wide left as it was long on 10 leading to a bogey; a chip flown over the green at 12 that somehow span back from out of the thick rough to eight feet, from where he makes birdie. The great man remains at +3 … just above the current projected cut line, for what that’s worth right now.
Scott takes his medicine and doesn’t try to get too cute with his chip. In thick rough and with a severe downhill lie, he aims for the heart of the green rather than the closer flagstick. He’ll be left with a 25-footer to salvage his par. Homa has a bit more green to play with, and a less severe lie, and chips out to 12 feet. Both about the best they could do. Both will most likely drop a a stroke. Block meanwhile can’t make his 35-footer on 17 and drops back to -2.
A couple of big tests coming up for Adam Scott (-2) and Max Homa (-1) on the monster par-five 13th. Scott sends a dreadful approach up a grassy bank to the right of the green, while Homa flies the dancefloor and ends up in cabbage behind it. The best of luck … which we also extend to club pro Michael Block, whose second into 17 ends up in the filth down the right of the hole. He manages to muscle his third onto the front of the green, but he’ll have to make a long putt to keep his card clean.
A backwards step for Hayden Buckley at 16, where a weak chip up costs him a shot. He’s only made one par today, at his opening hole, the 10th. Adam Scott meanwhile has opened with three pars, at 10, 11 and 12, though he’s come close with a couple of birdie efforts. Perhaps wisely not pushing too hard to repair the painful damage of that closing double bogey last night, rushing to finish as the sun went down. The 2013 Masters champion remains at -2 overall.
Thomas Pieters joins the group in a tie for second. He finds the long par-five 4th in two big booms, only to leave a long eagle putt a worrying five feet short. But he knocks in the birdie effort and moves to -3. Meanwhile back-to-back birdies for Max Homa at 11 and 12, and one of the pre-tournament hipsters’ choices moves into red figures at -1. Less than an hour into the second round, and things are bubbling up nicely already.
Hayden Buckley has only played in one major championship before. The 27-year-old from Chattanooga, Tennessee did pretty well in it: a tie for 14th at last year’s US Open. He’s had a couple of fine recent finishes too: a top-ten finish at the Texas Open and a tie for fifth at the RBC Heritage. He appears to be taking that good form into the PGA. A 69 yesterday, and after a slow start today with bogeys at 11 and 12, he’s responded with three straight birdies between 13 and 15. He’s -2 overall.
The Michael Block party continues. One of the ‘PGA Team of 20’ club professionals in the field this week, the 46-year-old is taming the Oak Hill tiger right now. He calmly bangs his tee shot at the short par-four 14th down the middle, chips to eight feet, and tidies up for his third birdie of the morning. He’s a shot off the lead! Meanwhile opening par for DJ, whose 12-foot birdie putt on 10 lips out on the right. So close to a share.
-3: Block (5*), D Johnson (1*), Cole, Conners, Scheffler
-2: Davis (6*), Pieters (3), Mitchell (3), Bradley, Hovland, Fox
Thomas Pieters made it back to the clubhouse yesterday evening propelled by parps of the purest ear-steam. The occasionally hot-headed Belgian was going along nicely at -3 with three holes to play, only to drop strokes at 7 and 9 with a face on. But presumably he’s got things into proportion since – he’d surely have taken an opening round of 69 given his early LIV travails – and he’s come out today with a fresh spring in the step and a birdie at 3. He’s -2.
Cam Davis has no record in the majors to speak of, but he did finish tied for sixth at the Players this year. The 28-year-old Aussie followed that up with a tie for seventh at the recent RBC Heritage, just four off the eventual winner Matt Fitzpatrick, and he’s making his move here today. A 71 yesterday, and now three consecutive birdies at 13, 14 and 15. He’s -2.
Tom Kim’s all-out bid to top up his social-media bonus last night may have taken a toll. An opening bogey at 1 and he slips to +4. But it’s an opening birdie for Tony Finau at 10. If ever there’s a man trending in the right direction, it’s the big 33-year-old from Salt Lake City, Utah. Having gone out in 41 strokes yesterday, he responded to that nightmare by coming back in 31. There’s no point wasting such card-salvaging brilliance, and today’s fast start brings him up to +1. Plenty will have written him off yesterday. Ahem. Now look!
So here’s where we are right now at the very top of the leaderboard. Keith Mitchell – currently the world number one in total driving (distance plus accuracy) – has birdied 2 to get seriously involved here. You know what, that total driving malarkey could well stand him in good stead around this US Open-esque track. Especially when the wind gets up later. Anyway, all caught up, pretty much. [wipes brow histrionically]
-3: Scheffler, Conners, D Johnson, Cole
-2: Block (4*), Mitchell (2), Bradley, Hovland, Fox, Scott
-1: Straka (3), Pieters (2), Rose, Suh
A 46-year-old club pro is making a big move this morning. Michael Block is playing in his fifth PGA Championship – he’s also teed it up at two US Opens – as a busman’s holiday from his day job at Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo, California. He shot a fine 70 yesterday, coming back with birdies at 12, 13 and 16, and he’s on a similar roll this morning. Birdies at 10 and 12, and he moves to -2, just two off Bryson DeChambeau’s lead.
An up-and-down early start for Justin Rose. He made a three-putt bogey on 16, but bounced back with a chip-in at the last to sign for a 69. But Phil Mickelson wasn’t so adroit around 18, and a chunked chip led to a double bogey and a round of 73.
The 6th hole claimed Tom Kim as a victim in the gloaming yesterday; it’s claimed the overnight leader Eric Cole at the break of dawn. Cole had crashed his tee shot at 6 down the middle last night, then opted to mark his ball when the horn went to end the day’s play. He might wish he’d gone on to complete the hole, as was his right, because his first shot this morning was a big pull into Allens Creek. That led to a double-bogey six. He gamely parred his way home after that, though, and signs for a three-under 67.
Yesterday didn’t go exactly to plan – certainly not for the eminently entertaining golfer-cum-explorer Tom Kim – but it looks as though the 105th PGA Championship is back on track after yesterday’s frost delay. A few players, including the surprise overnight leader Eric Cole, still have a few holes of their first rounds left to play, but they’ll have to suck up a quick turnaround for the second round, which looks like going ahead as scheduled. Here’s what the top of the leaderboard looked like at sunset yesterday …
-5: Cole (14*)
-4: DeChambeau (F)
-3: Scheffler (F), Conners (F), D Johnson (F)
-2: Fox (F), Hovland (F), Bradley (F), Scott (F)
… and here are today’s tee times. All the latest coming right up. It’s on!
Starting from the 1st (all times BST) …
12pm: Sam Ryder, Gabe Reynolds, Brandon Wu
12.11pm: Sadom Kaewkanjana, Ben Kern, Thorbjorn Olesen
12.22pm: Webb Simpson, YE Yang, Danny Willett
12.33pm: Sepp Straka, Harris English, Robert MacIntyre
12.44pm: Thomas Pieters, Keith Mitchell, Pablo Larrazabal
12.55pm: Lucas Herbert, Brian Harman, Callum Shinkwin
1.06pm: Tom Kim, Sam Burns, Abraham Ancer
1.17pm: Im Sung-jae, Chris Kirk, Seamus Power
1.28pm: Kim Si-woo, Stephan Jaeger, Anirban Lahiri
1.39pm: Victor Perez, Aaron Wise, Jordan Smith
1.50pm: Chris Sanger, JJ Spaun, David Micheluzzi
2.01pm: Thomas Detry, JJ Killeen, Matt Wallace
2.12pm: Nick Hardy, Gary Koch, Eric Cole
5.30pm: Trey Mullinax, Josh Speight, Kazuki Higa
5.41pm: Adam Schenk, Colin Inglis, Thriston Lawrence
5.52pm: Min Woo Lee, Andrew Putnam, Emiliano Grillo
6.03pm: Harold Varner III, Scott Stallings, Nicolai Hojgaard
6.14pm: Steve Holmes, Adrian Otaegui, Davis Riley
6.25pm: Scottie Scheffler, Brooks Koepka, Gary Woodland
6.36pm: Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa
6.47pm: Jordan Spieth, Shane Lowry, Viktor Hovland
6.58pm: Jon Rahm, Matt Fitzpatrick, Cameron Smith
7.09pm: Luke Donald, Adrian Meronk, Yannik Paul
7.20pm: Kenny Pigman, Davis Thompson, Maverick McNealy
7.31pm: Keegan Bradley, Jason Day, Bryson DeChambeau
7.42pm: Jesse Droemer, Matt NeSmith, Rikuya Hoshino
… and from the 10th …
12.05pm: Matt Cahill, Taylor Montgomery, Cam Davis
12.16pm: Michael Block, Hayden Buckley, Taylor Pendrith
12.27pm: Alex Beach, Brendon Todd, Sihwan Kim
12.38pm: Patrick Reed, Rasmus Hojgaard, Nick Taylor
12.49pm: Christiaan Bezuidenhout, John Somers, Chez Reavie
1pm: Tommy Fleetwood, Cameron Young, Hideki Matsuyama
1.11pm: Adam Scott, Max Homa, Tony Finau
1.22pm: Xander Schauffele, Tyrrell Hatton, Dustin Johnson
1.33pm: Patrick Cantlay, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson
1.44pm: Alex Smalley, Russell Henley, Mito Pereira
1.55pm: Adam Hadwin, Matt Kuchar, Talor Gooch
2.06pm: Justin Rose, Billy Horschel, Francesco Molinari
2.17pm: Russell Grove, Patrick Rodgers, Ben Taylor
5.25pm: Shaun Micheel, Braden Shattuck, Steven Alker
5.36pm: Ben Griffin, Chris French, Joel Dahmen
5.47pm: Wyatt Worthington II, Nico Echavarria, Wyndham Clark
5.58pm: Tom Hoge, Ryan Fox, KH Lee
6.09pm: Paul Casey, Adam Svensson, Beau Hossler
6.20pm: Zach Johnson, Kurt Kitayama, Sahith Theegala
6.31pm: Corey Conners, Ockie Strydom, Joaquin Niemann
6.42pm: Kevin Kisner, Jimmy Walker, Padraig Harrington
6.53pm: Alex Noren, JT Poston, Mackenzie Hughes
7.04pm: Lee Hodges, Callum Tarren, David Lingmerth
7.15pm: Taylor Moore, Denny McCarthy, Brendan Steele
7.26pm: Jeremy Wells, Justin Suh, Adri Arnaus
7.37pm: Anthony Cordes, Mark Hubbard, Dean Burmester