Jason Day moves into serious contention. He lays up at the par-five 10th, bumps a chip to five feet, and strokes in the birdie putt. He’s -5, having picked up five strokes in the last four holes. And with that, the klaxon goes for a weather warning. An electrical storm coming in. Never good news, but it’s a shame for Day and Matsuyama, who are both super-hot right now and moving up the leader board with menace. See also: Justin Thomas, who with birdies at 10 and 12 moves to -2, four under par for his round today … and Shane Lowry, who has picked up strokes at 10, 11, 14 and 15 to join him there!
-8: Kisner (F)
-6: Matsuyama (14)
-5: Day (15)
-4: Oosthuizen (10*), Stroud (6*)
-3: Fowler (F)
-2: An (F), Lowry (15), Thomas (12), Molinari (11*) Koepka (10)
So keep refreshing. The break isn’t expected to be super-long – an hour if we’re lucky, by the time the weather passes and the players get back in position – so hopefully we’ll get to complete the second round tonight. Fingers crossed, huh.
It’s three birdies in a row for Hideki Matsuyama, this time at 14, after sending his second to six feet. He’s just a couple behind Kisner now at -6, and off the back of his 61 at Firestone last Sunday, he’s surely the in-form favourite for this tournament right now. But it is only Friday, and you know how golf goes.
-8: Kisner (F)
-6: Matsuyama (14)
-4: Day (9), Oosthuizen (9*), Stroud (6*)
-3: Fowler (F)
Spieth cuts a low wedge around the left of the tree and nearly finds the green. That was so close to spectacular. Then he leaves his chip nine feet short. He’s zig-zagged up this hole like the Keystone Kops in their kollapsing kar! It’s a bogey in the end, and he’s +3, but that will feel like an escape, given the long song-and-dance routine it became. He gives the ball away to some lucky punter. Meanwhile back in the world of normality, Chris Stroud birdies 15 to move to -4.
Jordan Spieth flays his tee shot at 10 onto a cart path down the right. He gets a free drop, but before he drops, excavates a load of pine straw from the spot he intends his ball to land. Always thinking. After the landscaping work, he pulls a dreadful second into more dirt, this time on the left! He’s got a tunnel through which to fire low towards the green, but gets too much elevation on his ball and clatters flush into an overhanging branch. He’s now snookered behind a tree trunk, and there’s sand in the way of the green too. This doesn’t look good for Spieth, who is already well off the pace at +2, the projected cut at +4 of more concern to him than the lead. A minor blow-up. But it does show just how amazing his work under pressure at 13 on Birkdale was. He’s a special, entertaining and sometimes unorthodox player. Even when it’s all going wrong, he’s worth the entrance fee. Shades of Seve, even if nobody cares to make the comparison.
Hideki Matsuyama arrows a stunning tee shot straight at the pin at 13. In goes the four footer he leaves himself, and suddenly there’s only a three-shot lead at the top. Oosthuizen meanwhile very nearly lobs in from the cabbage on the wrong side of the creek down the left at 18. Somehow, he’s escaped with his par! That is astonishing, and after a long, slow day, this tournament is beginning to bubble up nicely.
-8: Kisner (F)
-5: Matsuyama (13)
-4: Day (9), Oosthuizen (9*)
-3: Fowler (F), Stroud (5*)
A stroke of luck for Louis Oosthuizen on 18. He hoicks his second towards the creek on the left. It should get wet. It should stay wet. But it bounces out of the drink and into the thick rough. He’ll at least have half a chance of getting up and down to scramble his par. Meanwhile another birdie for Jason Day, his second at 9 straight at the stick, the putt rolled in. That’s four shots picked up in the last three holes! And he’s in a tie for second at -4.
Jordan Spieth very nearly drains a 50-footer on 9, but that’s par and he’s out in 36. He’s +2 for the championship. Bogey for Brooks Koepka and he drops to -1. Birdie for Dustin Johnson at 8 and he’s +1. Birdie for Chris Stroud at 14 and he’s -3. Jason Day follows up his eagle on 7 with birdie at 8: he’s -3 too. And another birdie for Hideki Matsuyama, this time at 12. But Woodland can’t save his par on 18, and he’s back to -2.
Gary Woodland really pushes his luck on 18. His drive should find the creek down the left, but somehow stays out, snagging in the thick rough on the riverbank. Then he pulls his second towards the water as well. The ball drops in the drink, but balloons off a rock and stays dry again! Duffing his chip into the green then seems like cocking a snook to fate. He’ll be struggling now, facing two long putts for bogey. Meanwhile Thorbjorn Olesen is beginning to unravel too. He drives onto pine straw down the right of 16, then hooks his second into the lake to the left of the green. Off the back of that double at 15, that’s pretty much the worst thing that could have happened.
Another birdie for Louis Oosthuizen, and at the start of the Green Mile as well. He’s -4, in second place on his own, because Thorbjorn Olesen drove into water on 15. He later visited sand, didn’t splash particularly close, and that’s a double-bogey 7. Francesco Molinari meanwhile has just birdied 18, and he’s played the back nine in 32 strokes! This is suddenly a very fascinating leader board with plenty of big names on it, regardless of Kisner’s pair of 67s.
-8: Kisner (F)
-4: Oosthuizen (7*)
-3: Fowler (F), Matsuyama (11), Woodland (8*)
-2: An (F), Molinari (9*), Reed (9), Koepka (8), Day (7), Olesen (6*), Stroud (4*)
Jason Day hasn’t been at his best this year, for one reason and another, but this is right out of his top drawer. He booms a drive down the par-five 7th, then sends his second from 183 yards to 12 inches. That’ll be a kick-in eagle that will propel him up the leaderboard to -2. But trouble afoot for Jordan Spieth down the short par-four 8th. He drives into sand down the right, then leaves his long bunker shot short of the green. No matter! He bumps a chip up to a couple of feet, and he’ll save his par from there.
The rain has run out for now. The storms are expected to pass by. We may have to pause for thunder and lightning tomorrow, but hopefully we’ll get through Friday without the klaxon baring.
Koepka’s left with the best part of 100 feet for his eagle putt. He sends it six feet past, a very decent effort from where he was. In goes the birdie putt, and he stops the bleeding in style: he’s back up to -2. Spieth has to settle for a par; he remains at +2, nothing going on. Sergio pars as well, but after his dreadful second shot, that’ll feel like an escape. He stays at +6. But Chris Stroud sheds another shot: he sends his second through the back of 12, then slips his club straight under the ball through the thick rough. He only squirts it onto the green. Two putts, and he’s back to -2.
Astonishing scenes on the par-five 7th. From the centre of the fairway, Jordan Spieth nearly finds the water guarding the front right of the green. Sergio does. But Brooks Koepka, the only one in serious trouble from the tee, behind a tree, somehow finds a tunnel through an avenue to whip a long iron into the heart of the green! He’ll have a long, long two putts for his birdie, but that was sensational from where he was.
Chris Stroud sends his second at 11 over the back, then hits a hot chip 12 feet past the flag. He’s back to -3. A three-putt bogey for Dustin Johnson at 5; he’s +1. Meanwhile Hideki Matsuyama is out in 33 strokes, saving his par at 9 with a long but calm rake across the green. He stays at -3. And Louis Oosthuizen nearly drives 14, chips up to a couple of feet, and taps in for a birdie that moves him into that -3 group as well. Nobody’s eating into Kevin Kisner’s lead yet, but there are a few big names circling.
-8: Kisner (F)
-4: Olesen (4*)
-3: Fowler (F), Matsuyama (9), Woodland (6*), Oosthuizen (5*), Stroud (2*)
Gary Woodland makes a bit of a hash of the par-five 15th. He wangs his second deep into the thick, wet cabbage to the left of the hole, and leaves his third well short of the green in more of it. His second effort flies ten feet past the hole. And the par putt coming back doesn’t drop. He’s back to -3. Over at the par-three 6th, Spieth trundles the long putt he left himself eight feet past the hole – but nails the return. He stays at +2, but hasn’t been able to make anything happen today so far. Meanwhile Koepka misses a short par putt; back-to-back bogeys after a dropped shot on 5, and he’s -1.
Tony Finau hasn’t really bothered himself with par golf today. Well, he did for his first two holes, 10 and 11, but since then? Two bogeys in a row, three birdies on the bounce, and now a double at the par-three 17th after finding water from the tee. He’s -1. Incidentally, did I confirm Byeong Hun An’s second-round 69? Well, just in case, there it is: he’s -2.
The rain is beginning to tumble out of the sky now. The greens might become a tad more receptive; maybe a few more birdies this afternoon?
What a putt by Justin Thomas on 6! A monster left-to-right curler for his second birdie of the round, having already picked up a shot at 2. He’s level par for the tournament. Meanwhile Olesen drives into the thick, wet rough down the left of 12, and he’s always struggling to make his par. He can’t find the green in regulation, can only chip to eight feet, and pulls his putt. He drops back to -4, and suddenly sort-of local boy Kevin Kisner has a four-shot lead over the big Dane, Gary Woodland and … Chris Stroud, who is out in the last group and has just snaked a 20-footer for birdie in on 10.
-8: Kisner (F)
-4: Woodland (5*), Olesen (3*), Stroud (1*)
-3: Fowler (F), Finau (7*), Matsuyama (7), Koepka (4)
Up on the driveable par-four 14th, Woodland lashes his tee shot high on a hillock to the right of the green. He’s shortsided, with a bunker in his way, but lands an outrageous lob inches past the sand, sending his ball running to three feet. That’s quite sensational. Mickelsonesque. And then he yips the birdie putt. Such a shame. He stays at -4. That’s very careless. Meanwhile a 70 for Chez Reavie; along with yesterday’s 72, he’s level par going into the weekend.
The world number one Dustin Johnson drops a stroke a 3, pushing a short putt wide right. He’s back to level par. Tony Finau rakes in a monster on 16: it’s his third birdie in a row, a sequence which has directly followed back-to-back bogeys. He’s -3. Another birdie for Hideki Matsuyama, this time at 7, and he’s -3. And Francesco Molinari is going very nicely today: birdies at 10, 11 and now 14, and he’s -1 for the tournament.
Koepka’s tee shot at the par-three 4th takes a hot bounce through the green and nestles in the thick stuff at the back. He very nearly holes the chip, but the ball races 12 feet past the hole. No matter: he strokes a wonderful slider into the cup to save his par and remain at -3. Sergio is on the fringe at the back; he tickles a lovely chip to 18 inches and taps in for his par. But he’s still +6 and in serious danger of missing the cut. Two putts from the front of the green for Spieth, and he’s still +2.
The drizzle continues to fall, but there’s no hint of any electrical storm. There are a couple of squalls approaching, but most likely they’re heading north. Gary Woodland, from 25 feet on 13, is a couple of inches high on the right away from birdie. He stays at -4. Par for Olesen on 11; he stays at -5. And up on 18, Ryan Fox pars to sign for a 66, the lowest round of this tournament so far. Quite a shift up in gear after yesterday’s 75, and he’s -1, in decent nick for the weekend.
Spieth larrups his drive at 3 down the left, his ball in the rough behind a tree. There’s room to get up and over, and he lashes an iron onto the dancefloor. That’s a result from where he was, but he’s still got a massive two putts to save his par, the first with a huge right to left break over a ridge from 60 feet. He does very well to get the first putt to 12 feet, but the return stays high on the left and he drops back to +2. Bogey for Sergio, too, his second in a row; he’s +6 with the cut currently predicted to be +4. Brooks Koepka escapes with par, but only just, a tentative prod from six feet threatening to stay out on the right before dropping. That’s three in a row for the US Open champ, though, and he stays in a very healthy place at -3.
An opening birdie for Thorbjorn Olesen at the par-five 10th. He’s closed the gap at the top to three. Jason Day opens with two pars, though he has to fight for the one on 2, his first putt left well out to the right, a staunch eight-footer nailed to save the situation. He remains at -1.
-8: Kisner (F)
-5: Olesen (1*)
-4: Woodland (3*)
-3: Fowler (F), Koepka (2), Stroud
Thanks to Tom there. So I was going to suggest the little burst of rain in Charlotte might slow these hysterically fast greens down a tad. And well they might. But it’s all in context. Spieth just tapped a 25-footer towards the hole on 2 there, and looked to have lagged it dead. And then it whistled a good five feet past. The Open champ knocks in the return to save his par and stays at +1. Birdie for Matsuyama on 5 meanwhile; he moves to -2. And a fine par save for Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion curling in a big left-to-right breaker from the fringe at the back of 11. He’s -2.
Jason Day was another to find himself in a bunker on the 1st but he sand-wedges expertly onto the green to set up an easy putt for par to stay one under. His partner, Dustin Johnson, is in the same position. Spieth, meanwhile, again overhits a second shot, on 2, and is then confounded by the slope with his birdie putt, which looks well judged until it carries on rolling and rolling just past the cup, but his uphill par putt is sunk confidently. Koepka by contrast plonks his second drive to within a pleasing distance short of the pin and he makes par. Tommy Fleetwood meanwhile is combining the sublime with the ridiculous, following two bogeys with an excellent birdie at the 3rd to move to level-par overall.
And with that, I’ll hand you back to Scott who’ll guide you through the rest of the day’s play.
In other chasing-pack news, Gary Woodland continues to purr along nicely, making par at the 11th – his second hole of the day – to stay four-under. But it’s all over for Mickelson for the week – a round of three birdies is still nowhere near enough, and he signs for a three-over 74, but his first-round 79 did for him really.
-8: Kisner (F)
-4: Olesen, Woodland (2*).
-3: Fowler (F), Koepka (1), Stroud
-2: An (F), Reed (2), Casey (1), Oosthuizen (1*)
The garlanded group of Koepka, García and Spieth – three under, four over and one over respectively – are underway, each beginning with fine firm, straight tee shots. Sergio’s second is a beauty too, up and down and plonked within tasty putting distance of the pin. Spieth’s is a little too audacious though, and is too far and too wide and lands in the second of the two bunkers to the left of the green, while Koepka avoids both, but not by much, and is handily placed on the green. Koepka’s birdie putt is better but doesn’t quite make it and he remains three under. Sergio just falls short too so has to settle for par too, as does Spieth after a decent recovery shot out of the bunker. The man to catch, though, is Kisner, who makes par on the last to sign for another 67, eight under overall. Another terrific performance.
Points makes a hash of his approach on 17, and then sends his bogey putt just right of the hole to suffer his second double-bogey in a row and move back to one under. Also dropping back is Jim Herman, bogeying his first hole, the 10th, to fall to one-under. Woodland, on the other hand, produces a masterful putt to birdie his first hole of the day and go to four under.
-8: Kisner (17*)
-4: Olesen, Woodland.
-3: Fowler (F), Koepka, Stroud
-2: An (F), Reed (1), Casey
McIlroy – his mojo coming and going like nobody’s business – smacks an impressive tee-shot 365 yards down the middle at the par four ninth, his final hole. And he’s ridiculously, agonisingly, short with a precise birdie putt that dangles on the edge of the hole but gravity can’t quite do the rest and he makes par to sign for a one-over 72. leaving him two-over overall. His partner Fowler makes par too, and remains very well placed on three under going into the weekend.
Points meanwhile loses some more ground, having gained some, with an overhit and slightly wide par putt on the 16th to drop back to three under. While the leader Kisner makes par on 8 to remain eight-under. An, meanwhile, finds an impressive way through the trees with his second shot on the 18th that takes him to the edge of the green. But a wayward putt means he drops a shot.
Kisner continues to fire: no sooner does Points cut into his lead than the American produces a magnificent long putt from the fringes of the green to give him an eagle three on the 7th. He goes three shots clear at eight under. At the other end of the leaderboard, Phil Mickelson’s still running on empty and moves to 11 over after another missed par putt.
-8: Kisner (16*)
-5: Points (15),
-3: An (17), Fowler (17*) Murray (2*), Woodland, Koepka, Stroud
Thanks Scott. Evening/afternoon everyone. Live golf may be going on, but the BBC introduces its red-button coverage of today’s later stages with several superfluous minutes of day-one punditry. All the while, McIlroy has made a second successive birdie, at 8, built on a strong 300-yard drive to within easy reach of the green. He moves to two-over and, you would think, has secured his presence until Sunday. While Points is now five-under, a shot behind the lead.
And with that, I’ll be handing over to Tom Davies, who will be your guide for the next hour. See you again soon, by which time we’ll know whether Rory has survived the cut or not. (The projection has moved out to +5, and he’s just birdied 7 to rise to +3, so the signs are good!)
The PGA has been the breakthrough tournament for some big names in the past: the aforementioned Rory McIlroy, for example, who came close as a young man in 2009 and 2010, or John Daly’s explosion from nowhere in 1991. I wonder what price Grayson Murray this year? Whatever happens now, he’s announced himself to the world all right. While Jordan Spieth was winning the Open last month, the 23-year-old Murray was claiming his first PGA Tour victory at the Barbasol. He’s from nearby Raleigh, and local knowledge appears to be standing him in good stead. He shot a marvellous 68 yesterday, and has just started out today with birdie on 10. That puts him in a tie for second alongside DA Points, who has just birdied 14, and Thorbjorn Olesen, who isn’t out for an hour or so yet. Byeong Hun An has just carded back-to-back birdies at 14 and 15, too, so after a long morning of relative peace at the top of the leaderboard, we have ourselves some action!
-6: Kisner (15*)
-4: Points (14), Murray (1*), Olesen
-3: An (15), Fowler (15*), Woodland, Koepka, Stroud
Rory McIlroy is now in serious danger of missing the cut for the second PGA in a row. A fourth bogey in five holes, this time at 6, and the wheels really have come clattering off the pre-tournament favourite’s Major Jalopy. He’s +4, and if the projected cutline stays where it is, that’s him away home. This has been nothing short of a disastrous year in the majors for McIlroy, which seems absurd to say given he’s tied for seventh at the Masters and fourth at the Open. But he never seriously looked like winning either title, and missed the cut at the US Open, and these are the high standards he sets himself. Is he putting himself under too much pressure? Are we? This is going to be three years without a serious tilt at a major now. But then Jack Nicklaus won nothing between the 1967 US Open and the 1970 Open; even the best of them go through droughts. He’ll be back in the mix soon enough. Let’s cut him some slack.
There’s no stopping Ryan Fox. Birdie at 10 now, his fifth of the day, and he’s -1. Meanwhile Patrick Cantlay remains at level par: another birdie, thanks to a 30-footer holed at 16, was followed by a dropped stroke at 17, the result of missing the par-three down the swale to the right.
Jason Dufner’s renaissance has come to a crashing halt. And in spectacular style too. Out in 32, through the Green Mile without trouble, he’s since bogeyed 1 and 2, and doubled 3, the latter the result of dumping a chip into a bunker and not making a particularly good job of splashing back out of it. He’s suddenly tumbled all the way down to +3, and so much for all that good work.
Rory McIlroy’s bid for a first major since his win in this championship at Valhalla in 2014 continues to fall apart. It’s three bogeys in four holes now, this latest one coming at 5, his putter letting him down from close range yet again. He’s +3. A dropped shot for his partner Jon Rahm, too, and he slips to +3 as well. The third member of that group, Rickie Fowler, maintains his equilibrium: a sixth par on the bounce, and he remains at -3. Fowler’s in a tie for third now, because DA Points bogeyed 12 to slip out of a tie for second with Thorbjorn Olesen.
-6: Kisner (13*)
-3: Fowler (14*), Points (12), Murray, Woodland, Koepka, Stroud
Some late-round bloody-minded brilliance from Graham DeLaet. He dropped four shots in his first six holes today, and at one point, having started the day at -1 after yesterday’s 70, sailed out as far as +4. But birdies at 13, 15 and 18 have hauled him right back into contention. A 73’s not ideal, but after that start, it’s mightily impressive. He’s alongside his playing partner Bud Cauley on the leaderboard; Cauley followed up his opening-round 69 with a birdie-free 74 today. For what it’s worth – and what it’s worth is absolutely nothing – they’re the current clubhouse leaders at +1.