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Jon Rahm among big names who rallied to make cut at Oak Hill

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Jon Rahm among big names who rallied to make cut at Oak Hill

Clutch saves for Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas to advance to Saturday at PGA Championship

    Written by Kevin Prise @PGATOURKevin

    ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Jon Rahm didn’t fret after an opening-round 76 at the PGA Championship. He knew Oak Hill was a beast and that no player was immune to a rough stretch or a few short misses.

    The world No. 1 just had to mind the cut line.

    Mission accomplished, as Rahm carded a second-round, 2-under 68 in western New York for a 36-hole total of 4 over. The cut line fell at 5-over 145, with 76 players advancing to the weekend at Oak Hill. Rahm is onward to Saturday with a stroke to spare.

    The recent Masters champion will begin Saturday nine strokes back of a trio of co-leaders – Scottie Scheffler, Viktor Hovland and Corey Conners. But Rahm knows he’s capable of getting hot; think back to the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he chased down Collin Morikawa from six back into the final day.

    With six holes to play on Friday, Rahm stood one stroke outside the cut line. He needed to make something happen, and he did just that with three consecutive birdies on Nos. 13-15 – from 8, 11 and 7 feet respectively. The birdie string allowed him to withstand a bogey at the par-4 16th, and he closed with two pars.

    Rahm wasn’t the only major champion to battle the cut line down the stretch on Friday and come out ahead. Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth each needed their clutch gene on the closing hole to maintain hopes of raising the Wanamaker Trophy.

    Thomas arrived at the par-4 18th at 4 over, needing a bogey or better to survive the line. He drove into a fairway bunker and left his second in the same bunker. He wedged out to 96 yards, then wedged to 8 feet and drained the putt to save bogey. The defending PGA Championship winner avoids an early trip home.

    Spieth, coming off a wrist injury that caused him to withdraw from his hometown AT&T Byron Nelson last week, arrived at No. 18 at 5 over, needing a par. His tee shot found the fairway but his second caught a right greenside bunker. He blasted to 8 feet and drained the putt to make the cut.

    Others to finish squarely on the cut line at 5-over 145 included Tony Finau and upcoming Ryder Cup captain Zach Johnson.

    Notables to miss the cut included reigning U.S. Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick (6 over), Rickie Fowler (6 over), last week’s AT&T Byron Nelson winner Jason Day (8 over), Tom Kim (8 over) and Cameron Young (9 over).

    Fitzpatrick closed with back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 17 and 18 to fall one shy of the cut line, while Fowler closed with a bogey on No. 9 to suffer the same fate. Day stood 5 over with three holes to play but missed a 3-foot par putt on 16, then made double bogey on No. 17.

    Kim carded 73-75, unable to tap into momentum from his muddy incident on Thursday afternoon.

    Young’s second-round 75 included a two-stroke penalty for failing to replace his ball marker on No. 16.

    In the two most recent PGA Championships at Oak Hill, the cut line fell at 3-over 143 (2013) and 8-over 148 (2003).

    Kevin Prise is an associate editor for the PGA TOUR. He is on a lifelong quest to break 80 on a course that exceeds 6,000 yards and to see the Buffalo Bills win a Super Bowl. Follow Kevin Prise on Twitter.

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