FARMINGDALE, N.Y. — Round 2 of the 101st PGA Championship opened Friday with Brooks Koepka placed firmly atop the leaderboard, and all he did Friday was continue to put forth an all-time performance. Koepka is in the clubhouse at 12 under after posting the lowest 36-hole score in major championship history (128) while leading the field by seven strokes. No golfer in history had previously led a major by more than six strokes through the first two rounds.
While Koepka is reaching new heights with his game, Tiger Woods fell off massively coming out of his victory at the 2019 Masters. Woods finished 5 over through his 36 holes, a stunning 17 back of Koepka and below the cut line for the tournament. Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson are attempting to give Koepka a run for his money, but it would take Koepka falling off in a major way on Saturday to put either in true contention.
Let’s check out how the leaderboard looks after 36 holes at Bethpage Black.
1. Brooks Koepka (-12): While a second-round 65 seemed like a carryover from Koepka’s 63, he described the experience much differently. Friday afternoon was a battle, but the defending champ was able to keep his foot on the gas thanks to a putter that has yet to really let him down this week.
T2. Jordan Spieth (-5): All week, Spieth has been adamant that the worst golf of this slump is behind him and everything is close to clicking into place. Now he has to go and prove it on the weekend, where his scoring average has dropped significantly so far in 2019.
T2. Adam Scott (-5): Last year at the PGA Championship, Scott played his way into the final group with Koepka and finished in third. Now he’s back in the mix thanks to a blistering 64 on Friday. Scott is going with the long putter this week and he had it moving, gaining more than four strokes on the field with his putting.
T4. Dustin Johnson (-4): The No. 1 player in the world rankings showed his stuff early, rolling off five birdies in a seven hole stretch to start his second round. DJ has yet to separate himself from the field with his putting, which can viewed two ways: Either he’s in trouble because he’ll need that in order to win, or he’s in great shape because you assume that the putts will start to drop at some point.
T4. Matt Wallace (-4): After a run of five birdies in six holes to start his second nine, Wallace became a little bit unglued down the stretch. Back-to-back bogeys left him much further off the lead than he could have been heading into the weekend, but he’s still in a good spot to log one of his best major finishes.
T4. Daniel Berger (-4): Avoiding the worst parts of the rough kept Berger from making too many mistakes, and then he added a great showing chipping and putting to land at his 66. Finally healthy, Berger has been able to put in the work to get back in to major championship shape and he showed that on Friday.
T4. Kelly Kraft (-4): Kraft’s 65 was one of the best rounds of the day, powered by some of the best ball striking into greens that we saw from anyone in the field. There’s still 36 holes left, but with only five major starts in his career and the best finish being a T58 at the 2017 PGA Championship, it’s fair to say the 30-year-old Texan is on his way to a career-changing week.
9. Justin Rose (-3): Bethpage Black did seem to shape up as a course that Rose would be able to grind through with long and straight hitting rewarded by the bacon strip fairways. He didn’t have to hit every fairway, but he avoided putting himself in poor position off the tee and ended up hitting nearly every green in regulation on the way his five-birdie, two-bogey 67.
T10. Rickie Fower, Tommy Fleetwood, Hideki Matsuyama, Louis Oosthuizen, Danny Lee, Sung Kang, Jazz Janewattananond, Harold Varner III, Erik Van Rooyen (-2): Fowler, Fleetwood and Matsuyama are the most imposing names of this group when it comes to making a move, but it’s worth considering what kind of career-changing opportunities there are for the rest with 36 holes left to play. No one thinks that Brooks is going to get chased down by someone 10 strokes behind the lead, but a high finish on the leaderboard at the PGA Championship comes with benefits that can extend far beyond this weekend’s check.
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