Medicine US PGA Championship 2020: second round – as it happenedBlau Medical News
Lorenzo-Vera can’t get up and down for his par. A closing bogey, but a fine 68, and he’s in the thick of it going into Moving Day. Hope you can join us for that. Thanks for reading!
-6: Fleetwood, Day, Berger, Koepka, Rose, Lorenzo-Vera
-5: Champ, Casey, Todd
-4: Griffin, Schauffele, D Johnson, Wiesberger, Noren, Steele
Lorenzo-Vera decides to take his medicine and hit a short iron from the rough, instead of going for the green. But he gets a flyer and sends his ball into the bunkers to the right of the dancefloor. Turns out he could probably have made it after all. Well isn’t this quite the dramatic end to a long day!
Dahmen can’t make the putt, and it’s an awful triple-bogey seven to finish. It’s still a 68, but he drops from -6, where he’d tie for third, to -3, where he ties for 17th. Ooyah, oof, golf. Back on the tee, second-placed Lorenzo-Vera will be hoping to avoid a similar collapse. He pulls his drive into the thick rough down the left. He’s not started well.
A bit of a shocker for Joel Dahmen coming down 9. His drive finds thick rubbish down the left. He can only hack his second a few yards further into filth. His third finds a fairway bunker, and his fourth flies through the green and lands atop a hillock at the back. He flops a fine chip back down to eight feet, but that’ll be a real tester for double bogey.
Lorenzo-Vera finds the middle of the long par-three 8th. He rakes a long birdie effort four feet past the hole. He makes the par putt, and four down the last will see him in the last group with Li tomorrow afternoon.
Lorenzo-Vera can’t get up and down from a bunker to the side of the short par-four 7th. He’s -7. A good chance to grab a share of the lead is spurned. Meanwhile on 8, Joel Dahmen chips in to rise to -6. It’s a crowded leader board now!
-7: Lorenzo-Vera (16*)
-6: Fleetwood, Day, Berger, Koepka, Rose, Dahmen (17*)
-5: Champ, Casey, Todd
-4: Griffin, Schauffele, D Johnson, Wiesberger, Noren, Steele
Thomas sends his second at 18 just over the back. He’ll have to get up and down to stay the weekend. He nearly holes the chip, and taps in for a 70 that keeps him here tomorrow. He’s +1. Relief. Tiger and Rory meanwhile have both wedged to 15 feet or so. Tiger up first. He stabs with uncertainty to the left. Par. Rory next. He misses on the low side. Par. A 72 for Tiger, who goes into Moving Day at level par. A 69 for Rory, who is -1, and will be ruing that triple on 12.
Dustin Johnson misses a short par putt, however, and he ends the day with a 67. A sad denouement to a fine round. He’s well set at -4. And it’s also a miserable finish for Jordan Spieth, who cards his only bogey of the day at the last. A 68 which at least means he’ll survive the cut at +1.
Justin Rose is always a little bit out of position coming up 18. But he battles in his trademark style, and grinds out an excellent par for a fine 68 to go alongside yesterday’s 66. He’s -6 and perfectly poised for an enjoyable weekend.
Thomas finds the bunker to the right of the 18th fairway. Both Rory and Tiger send their drives down the middle. Belated news, meanwhile of former champ Martin Kaymer, who shot a fine 66 yesterday. Today? Eight bogeys, one double and a triple en route to a 12-over 82. A 16-shot swing in 24 hours! It can happen to the best of them, kids. I wish I would remember this when I’m shanking balls into thickets.
Gary Woodland pars the last to sign for a 72. He’s -1 at the halfway stage. Today’s round unravelled after a bogey, double-bogey double-whammy at 12 and 13. Two putts for Mike Lorenzo-Vera at 6; he remains at -6. And it’s pars all round for Tiger (E), Rory (-1) and JT (+1) at 17. Those three stars will all be here for the weekend providing they keep it together down 18.
Koepka rolls in his birdie putt! Exactly what that wonderful second shot deserved. He signs for a 68, to go alongside yesterday’s 66. He goes into Moving Day at -6, and as things stand, he’ll be in the third-last group tomorrow afternoon.
Lorenzo-Vera flays his drive at 6 miles wide of the trees down the left. He whips a lovely second over the tops and onto the green. The sort of European escape that should save his par. Meanwhile on 18, Shane Lowry lets out a weary sigh, scrambling a par that set the seal on a 72 and ensures he’ll be here this weekend. He’s level par.
Koepka’s drive at 18 ends up by the side of a fairway bunker. He’s got to stand in the trap, miles below the ball, so grips down the shaft and lashes greenwards. It’s one of the shots of the week, landing pin high, eight feet away, from 165 yards. What he’d give for a closing birdie here!
Rose fails to make his short birdie putt on 16. Shame, after playing the hole so cleverly. He remains at -6. Coming up behind, Justin Thomas, who shapes a lovely stinger around the trees, right to left, and leaves a 25-foot eagle putt. That ends up a couple of turns short, but he’s tapping in for a birdie that will save his skin for the weekend, should he par home. He’s +1. Tiger gives himself a cushion with birdie that takes him back to level. And Rory makes it three, and he’s back in red figures at -1. All is not lost yet for this marquee group.
Li is still on the range! He’ll get a good night’s sleep, if nothing else. Perhaps this is a way to ensure exactly that, so the nerves don’t overwhelm him and keep him up until goodness knows when.
Par for Thomas at 15, though after a bogey, double-bogey nightmare at 12 and 13, he’s still on the wrong side of the cut line. Tiger’s second meanwhile lands in thick nonsense over the back of the green. He can only hack out to the centre of the green – his ball was so deeply embedded there was little point in trying to be cute – and the resulting 30-foot par putt is too much to ask. He’s +1, right on that cut line.
Dustin Johnson follows Rose’s lead on 16, playing conservatively off the tee (!!!) and spinning his second back towards the cup. He nearly holes out for eagle, but he’ll tap in for a birdie that takes him to -5.
Rose doesn’t go for the green on the short par-four 16th, instead setting himself up for a full wedge in. He lands it 30 feet past the hole, and sends it spinning back to six feet. That’s intelligent course management, and he’ll have that putt to join Lorenzo-Vera in second spot.
Daniel Berger gives himself a 15-foot birdie chance on 18. It doesn’t drop, but the par gives him a 67 that sets himself up nicely for Moving Day.
-8: Li (F)
-7: Lorenzo-Vera (13)
-6: Fleetwood (F), Day (F), Berger (F), Rose (15)
Back on the par-five 4th, Mike Lorenzo-Vera pulls his second into a greenside bunker. He’s livid, spinning around and dancing, but then he splashes out to 12 inches and taps in for his birdie. The 35-year-old Frenchman, who had a good run last year at Bethpage Black, is one off the lead at -7!
Another birdie for Justin Rose, this time at 15, and he moves up to -6. He’s going round with Dustin Johnson, who has birdied 10, 13 and now 15 to drag himself into contention at -4. And the third member of the group, the woefully out of form Jordan Spieth, has hauled himself back to level par for the tournament after birdies at 5, 7 and 10. You wouldn’t put it past Spieth to launch a birdie blitz from deep in the pack tomorrow. What a time that would be to rediscover his spark.
The leader Li Haotong finished his round nearly six hours ago. Since then, he’s decamped to the range and he’s still out there practising! The mere sight has sent Sky pundit Paul McGinley into apoplexy. “Even Padraig Harrington wouldn’t put in these hours!” Some statement right there. It’ll be interesting to see how Li’s energy levels, mental as much as physical, keep up during the weekend.
Koepka is down getting his back manipulated yet again. This is a big concern for the defending champion, as well as everyone who’d love to see him in the thick of it down the stretch on Sunday. Stay healthy, big man. Meanwhile there’s some welcome news at last for Lowry, who birdies 15 to give himself a little cushion against the cut. He’s back to level par.
A greenside bunker snaffles Daniel Berger’s tee shot at 17. His splash out is decent; his short par saver is not. A bogey that restores Li’s two-shot lead. Koepka does astonishingly well to manufacture a Mickelsonesque flop from the rough at the back of 15, and he remains at -5. That’s a real momentum saver. And up on 18, Jason Day pars to sign for an excellent 69, the only real blemish that careless double bogey on 12. He goes into the weekend a couple off the lead at -6.
Lorenzo-Vera rolls in his birdie putt on 3. That’s the least he deserved after nearly acing. He’s just a couple off at -6. Meanwhile bogey for Tiger on 13, and he slips to level par.
Koepka is getting a little ragged. From the centre of 15, he pulls an awful wedge into the thick stuff back-left of the green. He’s shortsided, and hacking out of proper cabbage. This looks like a second bogey in three holes. But hello! What’s this? Justin Rose chips in from the side of 14, one of those that would have bounded 20 feet past had it not hit the flag and fallen straight down. It’s a birdie that takes him back to -5.
A sorry end to Tony Finau’s round. From a tight spot to the side of 18, he flicks a glorious chip to three feet. But he tugs at the par putt, and it’s a giveaway bogey at the death. It’s a level-par 70, and he goes into Moving Day at -3.
Berger crashes his drive to the back of the short par-four 16th green. He leaves his eagle putt six feet short, but makes the tricky birdie effort and moves into second place on his own at -7. Meanwhile back on the par-three 3rd, Mike Lorenzo-Vera nearly sails his 5-iron straight in for a hole-in-one, but the ball rolls past, an inch to the left, and ends up 15 feet past. That was very, very close indeed.
Birdie for Mike Lorenzo-Vera at 2; birdie for Alex Noren at 4. Both rise to -5. An interesting old leaderboard now.
-8: Li (F)
-6: Fleetwood (F), Day (17), Berger (15)
-5: Champ (F), Casey (F), Todd (F), Koepka (13), Wiesberger (13*), Noren (13*), Dahmen (11*), Lorenzo-Vera (11*)
McIlroy gives it way too much on the right, and he’ll be dropping a couple of strokes here. He looks livid, having done so much to get back into this. And then complete disaster, as he yips from two feet. A triple-bogey seven, and he clatters all the way down the leaderboard to level par again. Bogey for Thomas, too; he’s back to level. Par for Tiger, who remains at -1, and you can still hear those folk back at the tee whooping him on. Meanwhile up on 13, it’s another bogey for Lowry as expected, and he’s +1, right on the cut line.
Rory’s chip up from the swale at the back of 12 checks. What he’d give for another bounce, one more roll. He’s left with a six-foot bogey putt on a sloping green. Big putt coming up.
Koepka isn’t moving freely right now, and he’s out of position to the right of 13. A hot chip past the flag leaves a 12-footer coming back for par. He can’t make it. Bogey, and he’s back to -5. Meanwhile back on 12, Rory loses his second way left, and he’s stuck up a hillock. He throws a lob onto the green, but can’t hold it, and he’s off the back. This is almost certainly an end of his forward momentum.
Shane Lowry has dropped four strokes in the last five holes, and as a result is on a rolling boil. His second at 13, from rough down the left, clips a branch. So he snaps his iron over his knee. That club was destroyed with some force, and he rubs his leg in a slightly sheepish manner afterwards. Sure enough, golf being golf, he nearly trundles his third straight into the cup for birdie. But the ball rattles ten feet past, and he’s odds-on to drop yet another shot. Weekend participation appears a pipe dream the way he’s going.
Tiger hits driver at 12. The tee box is by the boundary fence, and a crowd has gathered to give their hero some support. “C’mon Tiger, let’s go baby!” You can lock the gates with a pandemic raging, but they’ll still come from far and wide to see and cheer on the great man.
Koepka is down again, which is rather worrying. He’s getting his back manipulated by the physio in the grand style. The sort of moves that would tie your average punter’s spine in knots, leaving it looking like a treble clef. Hopefully this looks much more serious than it actually is. Nevertheless, let’s take no chances: fingers crossed the champion can defend his title.
McIlroy only just reaches the front of the par-three 11th. He leaves his 70-footer a good ten feet short … but knocks in the par putt to maintain his momentum. He remains at -3. Up on 14, Berger risks bogey with a heavy-handed chip, but rolls in the 12-footer coming back to hang on at -6.
Another shot gone for Shane Lowry, who looks a defeated man right now. He has to roll in a 15-footer to limit the damage to bogey at 12, and he’s back to level par. From looking like taking a tilt at the title, he’s in danger of missing the cut unless he gets his act together toot sweet.
An on-the-hour leaderboard. And it’s star-packed, with all your favourite pals!
-8: Li (F)
-6: Fleetwood (F), Day (14), Berger (13), Koepka (11)
-5: Champ (F), Casey (F), Todd (F), Rose (11), Wiesberger (11), Dahmen (10)
-4: Schauffele (13), Cauley (13), Morikawa (12), Noren (11), Steele (10), Lorenzo-Vera (9)
-3: Wolff (F), Matsuyama (F), Kim (F), Scheffler (17), Woodland (11), McIlroy (10)
Wiesberger is on the charge, too. A third birdie in a row, this one at 2, and he’s -5. This second round had gone a wee bit flat for an hour or two back there, but recently it’s exploded back into life. Goodness knows what Moving Day is going to be like.
McIlroy is a dimple away from draining his eagle putt at 10. But it’s four birdies in a row, and he’s suddenly in the thick of this tournament, after looking down and out! He’s -3. Thomas does extremely well to get up and down from the thick stuff at the back, and he returns to -1. But Tiger leaves his eagle putt ten feet short. Happily, he’s been given a read by Rory, so in goes the birdie effort, and he’s -1 again. Meanwhile Day can’t take advantage of his lucky break on 14, but he escapes with his par, something that was far from given when his approach was sailing through the air to the right of the green.
Man down! It’s Koepka, who has felt something in his back. He calls for his physio, who yanks his leg hither and yon, and soon enough the big man’s back up and more supple than ever. Phew. It’d be a miserable state of affairs if his defence was compromised, or even worse ended, by injury.
Rory’s 344-yard drive on 10 is the longest at that hole today. He smooths his second onto the green and will have a look at eagle from 50 feet or so. Tiger’s also on in two, but Thomas, still seething from the abomination on the last green, sends his drive into the rough down the left, meaning he gets a flier with his second, and he’s through the back in deep nonsense. Meanwhile bounceback birdie for Rose at 10. He’s -5 again.
A huge stroke of luck for Day on 14, as he pushes his second way right of the green … only for the ball to take a massive break left and end up pin high on the dancefloor! Back on 11, Koepka leaves a 35-foot putt way short, foxed by the camber of the green, a hump jutting in from the left, but he rolls in the 12-footer that remains. What a massive escape! He remains at -6.
Collin Morikawa drains a 50-footer on 11. It’s his fourth birdie of the day, and suddenly he’s -4. Bernd Wiesberger is going along impressively, too, screeching his second at 1 to kick-in distance from 100 yards. He’s -4 as well.