Woodland's bounce-back season continues at PGA Championship
Takes early second-round lead at Bellerive with playing partner Kisner just one back
August 11, 2018
By Cameron Morfit, PGATOUR.COM
Gary Woodland comments after Round 2 of the PGA Championship
ST. LOUIS – Gary Woodland wasn’t as good as he was on Day 1, but he was good enough.
Playing with the red-hot Kevin Kisner (64, 9 under), Woodland shot a 4-under 66 to get to 10 under and take the second-round lead at the 100th PGA Championship at Bellerive.
Woodland completed his round on Friday before the horn blew for a weather delay at 3:35 p.m. Those who returned Saturday morning were unable to reel in his lead.
The third round will begin Saturday afternoon and will feature players in groups of three going off the first and 10th tees.
“I probably didn't play as well as I did yesterday top to bottom,” said Woodland, who won the Waste Management Phoenix Open earlier this year, breaking a victory drought that went all the way back to the 2013 Barracuda Championship in Reno.
“But the iron game really kept me in it today. I got a little wayward with a couple of drives and hit a lot of good putts that didn't go in. I can live with that.”
Woodland hit 9 of 14 fairways and, for the second straight day, 15 greens in regulation.
Two-time U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka charged into contention with a 7-under 63 that tied the record for low round at the PGA. He had a chance to break the record but watched his 20-foot birdie putt slide by on his last hole, the par-4 ninth. He’s at 8 under, just two back.
Charl Schwartzel, who also shot 63, and FedExCup and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson (66) were among four players at 7 under, three back. The quartet included first-round leader Rickie Fowler, who finished off a 3-under 67 this morning to move to 8-under.
The cut fell at even par sending plenty of big names home early. Among those was Masters champion Patrick Reed (72-71), multiple major winner Phil Mickelson (73-71), Sergio Garcia (70-71), Henrik Stenson (73-69), Bubba Watson (70-78) and Matt Kuchar (71-70).
Woodland, 34, began working with putting coach Phil Kenyon at The Open Championship, and was coming off one of the best putting days of his career in the first round. He drained 152 feet, 5 inches worth of putts and also led the field in Strokes Gained: Putting (+4.365) Thursday.
He was not as good Friday, making just 72 feet, 5 inches worth, but was optimistic, nonetheless. He’s smashing the ball off the tee, watching it trundle into the hole, and is being followed this week by a bigger-than-usual crew of family and friends from nearby Topeka, Kansas.
“For me as a whole, the putting was kind of just the last piece of the puzzle,” Woodland said. “Butch (Harmon, his coach) and I focused so hard this year on driving the golf ball because, when I drive it in play, I'm playing a game a lot of guys aren't playing out here, and that's a huge advantage. …
“When I see putts go in, I'm a completely different player,” he added, “especially with as aggressive as I'm playing right now. It was nice to get some work in with Phil at The Open, and then I've had a couple weeks to work on it. It just feels comfortable. Today I felt like I putted it as good if not better than I did yesterday. I just didn't see putts go in, but I can live with hitting good putts.”
Gary Woodland's lengthy birdie putt at PGA Championship
KISNER BACK IN THE MIX. One year after Kevin Kisner took the 54-hole lead at the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow, only to fade with a final-round 74 to finish T7, he’s back for more at Bellerive. How did he manage to almost keep up with his much longer playing partner Woodland?
“Greens are receptive,” Kisner said, “so my 4-iron stops as quick as his 7-iron.”
Kisner, Woodland and Sergio Garcia (71, 1 over) started on the back nine, and Kisner shot 29 to shoot up the leaderboard, eliciting memories of Quail Hollow a year ago. He attributed his solid performance in part to playing with Woodland, and the power of two playing well instead of just one.
“Yeah, a 100 percent,” Kisner said. “I think every time that you see guys playing well it kind of drags other guys in the group along. And Sergio wasn't having the best day, but I bet we made him hang in there just because of how well we were going.
“Gary and I are good buddies,” he added, “had a great time out there playing, and if I could only hit it as far as he could it would be a different game.”
JORDAN SPIETH – Found the water at the par-5 17th hole for the second straight day, but saved a par and hit 15 of 18 greens for a 66 (3 under total). For more on Spieth’s round, click here.
ADAM SCOTT – Lingering at a distant 119th in the FedExCup, Scott finally found his game with a second-round 65 to get to 5 under overall. For more on Scott’s round, click here.
FRANCESCO MOLINARI – Magical summer continues for the Italian who already has The Open Championship and Quicken Loans National trophies. Shot 67 to get to 5 under and well in the mix.
JON RAHM – Fiery Spanish superstar shot 67 to also get to 5 under par.
JUSTIN ROSE – Was iffy to start this PGA after a WD at the WGC-Bridgestone last week, but has kept it together nicely (67-69, 4 under) at steamy Bellerive.
TONY FINAU – After top-10 finishes in each of the first three majors this season, the long-hitting Utah golfer bounced back with birdies on eight of his first 11 holes. He also triple-bogeyed the par-3 sixth hole. He shot 66 to finish on the cut line at even par.
RICKIE FOWLER – A 3-under 67 has him 8 under and T3. The quest for a maiden major is on.
TIGER WOODS – Put together a 4-under 66 to start Round 3 six shots off the pace.
JUSTIN THOMAS – A back-nine blitz in the soft morning conditions helped the defending champion to a 5-under 65 and 6 under total. He is just four back.
RORY McILROY – A 67 from the two-time PGA champ left him 3 under and seven back.
JASON DAY – Settled for a 68 to sit 5 under and five back.
Francesco Molinari chips in for birdie at PGA Championship
QUOTABLESIt's really nice to know that even know though we're seven time zones away people are cheering us on.I didn't even think of it. I've been so in the zone you don't know where you are or where you're at.
I’m definitely wanting to get that second major.
Brooks Koepka's solid tee shot at PGA Championship
Low round: 7-under 63 – Brooks Koepka & Charl Schwartzel
Longest drive: 373 yards – Ollie Schniederjans on the par-4 4th
Longest putt: 69 feet, seven inches – Y.E. Yang
Toughest hole: The par-4 4th played at 4.374 with just seven birdies.
Easiest hole: The par-4 11th played at 3.568 with three eagles and 72 birdies.