Kisner charges in St Louis before storm stops play
Birdies rained down on Bellerive Country Club in round two of the PGA Championship before electrical storms suspended play with Gary Woodland still on top.
The big-hitting American held off the charge of Kevin Kisner, a runner up at the Open Championship at Carnoustie, with a four-under 66 to maintain his one-shot lead.
At ten under overall, Woodland set a new lowest 36-hole score at the PGA Championship - becoming only the fifth man to card 130 at the halfway stage of a major.
Like Woodland, US Open champion Brooks Koepka and Charl Schwartzel took advantage of finishing before the weather postponed Friday’s play to jump up the leaderboard.
Tiger Woods was not so fortunate, however, with the three-time Champion Golfer hauled off the course after a rapid start saw him make three birdies in seven holes.
Luck of the draw
Half of the 156-man field had not completed their second round when play was called off on Friday, forcing them to return for an early start on day three in St Louis.
Gary Woodland was not among those cursing the luck of the draw, though, having safely navigated his way through his second round to hold the clubhouse lead.
While the 34-year-old is not guaranteed to still be in front come the start of round three, everything has gone right so far for Woodland over the first two days.
His four birdies, an eagle and two bogeys saw him join an exclusive club of just five players who have scored 130 at the halfway stage of a major.
Only three-time Champion Golfer Nick Faldo, Brandt Snedeker, Martin Kaymer and Jordan Spieth - winner of The 146th Open - had previously finished 36 holes on that mark.
Yet with eight holes of his second round remaining, Rickie Fowler could still play his way into the final group on Saturday after moving to seven under in his second round.
Kisner jostles for lead
Having come agonisingly close to lifting the Claret Jug at Carnoustie, Kevin Kisner was once again challenging at the top of the leaderboard at the final major of the year.
The 34-year-old South Carolina native led for the first three rounds at The 147th Open last month, before finishing two shots back of eventual winner Francesco Molinari.
But he appears to have quickly put that disappointment behind him, after his second round at Bellerive put him right in contention for the Wanamaker Trophy.
Kisner ensured playing partner Woodland did not have it all his own way as he surged into the lead with six birdies in his first nine holes, starting on the back nine.
The two players traded the lead over the second nine before a bogey from Kisner saw him finish with a six-under 64, leaving him one shot behind his compatriot on nine under.
"I got off to a hot start, the putter cooled off on the front, but all in all it was a good day,” he said. "I'm really excited how I'm striking it, I hit every ball where I wanted to apart from the last one on the ninth.”
Major record under threat
Two players came within a whisker of equalling the lowest round in a major as Brooks Koepka and Charl Schwartzel both missed putts on the last for 62s.
After recovering from two over after six holes of his first round, two-time major winner Koepka moved to eight under for the tournament with a bogey-free 63.
He almost added to his seven birdies on his last hole to match Branden Grace’s 62 at The Open at Royal Birkdale in 2017, but his 20-foot putt was unsuccessful.
“Having a late-early tee time you can build on the rhythm,” said Koepka. “Yesterday the putts didn't drop but today was much more consistent and the speed was there.”
South African Schwartzel also came close to emulating his compatriot on day two, with his eight birdies and one bogey helping him climb 44 places up the leaderboard.
It is only the second time that two players have shot 63 on the same day at a major, after former Champion Golfers Jack Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf achieved the feat at the US Open in 1980.
Johnson looks to attack
World number one Dustin Johnson dealt admirably with an errant ball en route to carding a four-under 66 in his second round to move within four of the lead.
The stray ball interrupted him in the middle of his swing on the third hole, but it did not faze Johnson as he still went on to register one of six birdies on Friday.
“Right in the middle of my back-swing a golf ball came off the 11th,” he said. “I didn't know what it was and landed right behind me. Luckily I was right at the bottom of my back-swing and I went on to make a birdie.”
Following his 67 in the opening round, the American’s 133 score is his best ever after 36 holes of a major, putting him in prime position to attack over the weekend.
“The biggest key for me is finding the fairway. I've just got to be hitting out of there because this rough is deep which makes it hard to control the ball and get it on the green.
“I'm playing well with my irons and if I get it on the fairway I can attack the course.”
Dustin Johnson was almost hit with a flying golf ball during his swing...and still birdied the hole. pic.twitter.com/NnTFK5A6HZ— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) August 10, 2018
Spieth needs “something really special”
Three-time major winner Jordan Spieth enjoyed a better day on the Bellerive course on Friday after opening the PGA Championship with a one-over 71.
The former Champion Golfer, who lifted the Claret Jug at Royal Birkdale last year, finished his second round without a bogey as he posted a four-under 66.
But with the American seven shots adrift at the midway stage, he admits he will require something special over the weekend to complete the career Grand Slam.
“I need something really special,” said Spieth. “My expectations are lower than they are when I'm in form and I'm okay with that. It's just a process and I've got to be patient with it getting back.
“It was really a lot of progress. I wasn't sure going into the first tee. I thought that anything could happen, but it was a really solid round.”
His round was certainly less eventful than that of Tony Finau, who made seven birdies, one bogey and a triple bogey on the front nine before the weather intervened.