SHEBOYGAN, Wis. (AP) — The PGA Championship gets two “moving days” Saturday at Whistling Straits.
The first one starts at 7 a.m. when the second round, which was halted by a wicked storm, gets underway. Of the 49 players who didn’t finish the second round, 15 of them were separated by six shots. The leaderboard had as much clarity as the clouds that rolled in over Lake Michigan late Friday afternoon.
A pair of Australians, Jason Day and Matt Jones, were tied at 9-under par. Day had a 15-foot birdie putt on the 15th hole when play was stopped. Jones was on the other side of the course, in a fairway bunker to the right of the fourth fairway.
Neither of them minded when they were called in.
That wasn’t the case with Justin Rose, who was one shot behind and coming off back-to-back birdies to pull within one shot of the lead. He could see the clubhouse. He felt they were going to make it. And then he spoke.
“I opened my big mouth to the boys playing with us,” Rose said. “I said, ‘The end is in sight.’ And 30 seconds later, they blew the horn. So my name is mud all over here.”
Here’s what’s on top for a full Saturday at Whistling Straits:
For all the talk about the heartbreak in the majors that Dustin Johnson has endured this year, don’t overlook Day.
The 27-year-old Aussie was tied for the 54-hole lead while battling vertigo symptoms at the U.S. Open, and he faded in the final round. He had a birdie putt to join a playoff in the British Open a month later, only to watch it come up just short.
Day has had nine top 10s in the majors dating to 2010, including three runner-up finishes (one was by eight shots to Rory McIlroy in the 2011 U.S. Open).
Gary Player was at the 2007 Presidents Cup watching his International team when he began chatting about the future of the game. He was raving about stories of a teenager who was hitting the ball 400 yards in the air. Sure, the Black Knight can be dramatic to make a point. But that teenager in question was Tony Finau, now a rookie on the PGA Tour who is built like an outside linebacker.
And he can smash it.
Finau was in the mix going into the weekend at the U.S. Open and tied for 14th. He was two shots behind at Whistling Straits and had five holes still to play.
Jordan Spieth sure is leaving his mark in the majors. He already won the Masters and U.S. Open. He missed the playoff at the British Open by one shot. And on Friday, he chipped in from off the green for the 16th time this year, this time from a bunker on the 18th hole at the halfway point of his round. That gave him the momentum he needed to add three birdies on the front nine for a 67.
He was tied for the lead momentarily at 6 under until David Lingmerth posted at 7-under 137.
Even so, it was his sixth round of 67 or lower in the majors this year. Tiger Woods did it eight times during his gold standard season of 2000.
Spieth figured he would be four or five shots behind going into the weekend, and that might be the case. He also didn’t mind his position as he tries to join Woods and Ben Hogan as the only players to win three majors in one season.
Woods started with two quick birdies. He gave it back with a double bogey. And when the storms chased him off the golf course, he was 4 over (1 over for his round) with the cut projected at 2 over. Woods had five holes to make up ground and avoid missing the cut in his third straight major.
He already has six straight rounds over par in the majors, which he has only done once before. The good news? Woods has made it to Saturday in three of the majors this year, though two of them were because weather forced a Saturday cut.
And his season might not be over. Woods entered the Wyndham Championship next week.
ODDS & ENDS
Hiroshi Iwata tied a major championship record with a remarkable turnaround — a 77 in the first round, a 63 in the second round. It was the 27th time that a 63 was posted in a major championship, 13 of those in the PGA Championship and the last one two years ago at Oak Hill by Rory McIlroy. That put the 34-year-old from Japan at 4-under 140.
Not be forgotten is Rory McIlroy, the No. 1 player in the world. His putter went cold on Friday, and a double bogey on the 18th contributed to another 71. McIlroy, playing for the first time since the U.S. Open because of an ankle injury, was at 2-under 142.
He better get moving.