PGA Championship: Tiger Woods in contention as Brooks Koepka leads

Joann Johnston
August 12, 2018

With the majority of the afternoon groups not yet to the turn in their second round, it's hard to line up the field at Bellerive Country Club in St Louis.

Two-time U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka took a step toward adding a third major to his short list of victories.

Woods was 3 under through seven holes before a thunderstorm came in and forced golfers off the course.

Woods was among 77 players who returned early on Saturday to complete the weather-delayed second round. Woods had his mojo back early in the round and was sitting pretty at three-under par before the delay. I played 29 holes and I think I dropped three shots today and two of those were 3-putts.

Koepka is in third place at 8-under-par for the tournament.

In order, Koepka (who is tied for second this week in driving distance) is followed by Adam Scott (T-19 in driving distance), Jon Rahm (T-13), Rickie Fowler, Gary Woodland (sixth), Jason Day (T-2), Tiger Woods (33rd) and Justin Thomas (10th).

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In only one of Woods' 14 major titles did he come from as far back as six shots with 36 holes remaining - the 2005 Masters. He came up short of the green, chipped too strong and made bogey for a 64, leaving him one shot out of the lead Friday.

So coming into the 100th PGA Championship, he wasn't exactly burning up the prognosticators picks to win and, in the process, complete the career Grand Slam.

At the 10th, Woods found the right rough and pitched to eight feet then made a tension-packed putt to rescue par, a right fist-pump showing his joy at avoiding a third consecutive bogey on the hole.

If Woods is to win his first tournament anywhere for five years and his first major for double that length, he is going to have to figure out how to improve his scoring on the back nine. The previous was the 1980 U.S. Open won by Jack Nicklaus, who shot 63 in the first round at Baltusrol along with Tom Weiskopf.

"I played really well", Koepka said. He hit a 4-iron so pure on the par-5 17th hole that he immediately began walking off to it, and thousands of fans roared when it settled 20 feet from the hole for an eagle that could have brought him within one of the lead. "Look, it doesn't get much better".

His 10-under-par 130 score matched the lowest halfway total in major championship history, and he enjoyed a one-shot halfway lead over Kevin Kisner, and a two-shot cushion over Koepka. And if the putter feels good and stays hot on the weekend, just try and make some kind of a run. I said to my caddie a couple of holes before it was the most fun I'd ever had and then that happened. It nearly goes without saying that until he can find some consistence with his scoring clubs - namely his wedges and his putter - he will continue to fall short in the majors. His other birdie came at the par-5 17th, where he hit the green in two and two-putted from 30 feet.

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