Courtesy: The PGA of America
KOHLER, Wis. (WFRV) — Notes from Friday evening at the PGA Championship:
PGA CHAMPIONSHIP SECOND-ROUND PLAY SUSPENDED BY STRONG STORM
At 5:28 p.m. today, play in the 97th PGA Championship was suspended for the night as a volatile storm made its way through the Kohler, Wisconsin area and the Straits Course at Whistling Straits. 57 players have yet to complete their second round. Saturday’s third round is slated to begin approximately 30 minutes after the completion of round two, which will resume at 7:00 a.m. CT. Players that make the cut will begin Saturday’s third round on the first tee and play in groups of two.
DUO FROM DOWN UNDER ON TOP
At the time of Friday’s suspension of play, Australians Jason Day and Matt Jones were tied for the lead. Both are 9-under par. Day and Jones completed 14 and 12 holes, respectively, before play was halted. Both Aussies opened with 4-under-par 68s, and before Thursday’s suspension, were 5-under par for the afternoon.
Although there is a long way to go, note that four Australians have won the PGA Championship: Steve Elkington (1995), Wayne Grady (1990), David Graham (1979) and Jim Ferrier (1947).
Jordan Spieth’s 67 this morning was his lowest round in his three career PGA Championships, and for the 12th time in 14 major-championship rounds this year, he posted a sub-par score. At 6-under-par, he was tied for seventh place, three shots behind Jason Day and Matt Jones, upon playing being halted late Friday.
Spieth’s magical moment of the day came on the 18th hole (his ninth hole of the day), when he holed a nearly 50-foot bunker shot for birdie. The 18th, which is Whistling Straits’ toughest hole, relinquished just a pair of birdies this morning; one from Spieth, the other from David Lingmerth.
Never one to be unprepared, Spieth did some pre-championship reconnaissance on the same bunker that fronts the 18th at Whistling Straights, “I actually talked to local caddies ahead of time,” he said. “That bunker, and I think there is one other one, always have much more sand than the rest of the bunkers on the golf course … I just struck [the sand shot] absolutely perfectly. It was sitting nicely on top of the sand, to where it was possible, but, no, I was not looking to make that. I would have taken four and walked off very, very happy guy.”
DUSTIN JOHNSON FADES LATE
First-round leader Dustin Johnson opened with a 66 on Thursday, but his momentum stalled late today. He reached 8-under with back-to-back birdies on the 9th and 10th holes, but proceeded to bogey three of four holes before the suspension of play. Johnson plans to use the time to his advantage. “Hopefully I can come back in the morning and make a couple birdies coming in and then we’ll get the day started on Saturday,” said Johnson, who currently tied for 12th place at 5-under-par.
GAFFNEY IN POSITION TO MAKE THE CUT
At even-par 144, PGA Club Professional Brian Gaffney of Darien, Connecticut, is in a strong position to make the 36-hole cut. If this comes to pass, Gaffney would be the first PGA Club Professional to play the weekend in a PGA Championship since University of Illinois Coach Mike Small in 2011. The PGA Head Professional at Quaker Ridge Golf Club in Scarsdale, New York, Gaffney closed Friday’s second round with a 73 to go with a first-round 71. He is competing in his fourth PGA Championship, having missed the cut in 2000, ‘09 and ‘12.
STRICKER STICKING AROUND
At one-under-par, Steve Stricker (71-72) is in position to make his 20th consecutive cut in a major championship. That is the longest current streak in golf, yet it is barely half way to the all-time record of 39, which is shared by Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus. Stricker is currently tied for 41st place.
Stricker, who was born in Edgerton, Wisconsin (two hours southwest of Whistling Straits), is playing in his second PGA Championship in his home state. He tied for 18th here in 2010.