By Brett Avery
Six notable second-round stats that indicate how the PGA Championship might unfold Saturday at Kiawah Island's Ocean Course, provided by Golf World contributing writer Brett Avery, who compiles the Rank and File statistical sections for the magazine's coverage of the major championships and other significant events.
Carl Pettersson ranks 19th on tour this year in scoring average, but 29th on Saturdays. Photo by: The State/Getty Images
1. For more than a decade it was a foregone conclusion that Tiger Woods (69-71) had the capacity to stun people with his weekend play in major championships. Saturday and Sunday have become the litmus test, however, since losing the 2009 PGA to Y.E. Yang and then suffering his one-car accident a few months later. Woods averaged 70.396 on weekends in majors as a professional through the '09 PGA. But since returning to competition at the '10 Masters, he has averaged 71.083 in majors and 71.750 after those cuts. Woods has broken par just once in his last 12 weekend major rounds -- a 67 in the '11 Masters as he placed T-4. In those same dozen rounds he's averaged 72.333. So far this season on the PGA Tour, Woods ranks fifth in scoring average before the cut (69.98), but 33rd in third rounds (70.18) and 24th in final rounds (70.20).
2. Vijay Singh has been saying to anyone who will listen (or read his Tweets) for the last few months that he's been close to form. Singh's 71-69 at Kiawah Island makes four straight rounds in majors at par or better, following his 68-70 conclusion at last month's British Open at Royal Lytham. That is Singh's best such run since a seven-round streak encompassing every round at the '05 British at St. Andrews (69-69-71-72, T-5) and three of the '05 PGA at Baltusrol (70-67-69-74, T-10). Singh has not had back-to-back major top 10s since the '06 Masters (T-8) and U.S. (T-6).
3. Carl Pettersson (66-74) bogeyed three of his last four holes, the Ocean Course's sixth through eighth, yet kept a share of the lead at four-under 140. It is the fifth time the Swede has led through 36 holes in a PGA Tour event. He failed to convert at the '04 Honda Classic (T-13) and '05 Children's Miracle Network Classic (T-15) but he was successful in the '06 Memorial and '08 Wyndham. This season Pettersson won the RBC Heritage down the coast at Harbour Town on Hilton Head Island after seconds in the Sony Open in Hawaii and Houston. Pettersson ranks 19th on tour this year in scoring average (69.79) but his weakest day has been Saturday (70.07, ranked 29th).
4. The field scoring average for the second round was 78.107 when play was halted at 8:16 p.m. with Joost Luiten the only player on the course. Regardless of how Luiten plays the 18th hole Saturday morning, the second round will rank as the highest day in a PGA since the first round in 1958 at Llanerch (76.8). It also will be the highest round in a major since the closer of the '04 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills (78.727), followed by the first round of the '99 British at Carnoustie (78.314). This year's second round also finishes slightly below the first round of the 1993 Buick Invitational (78.383).
5. Sixteen different players have won the last 16 majors, a streak that kicked off with Padraig Harrington in the '08 PGA at Oakland Hills. Only four contenders in the top 23 at sundown Friday night can prevent that streak from reaching 17: Rory McIlroy (-2/T-5), Phil Mickelson (E/T-12), Graeme McDowell (E/T-12) and Keegan Bradley (+1/T-15). Of those 23 at one over or better, only nine have won majors. And in that streak of 16 victories, only one was secured with an over-par total: Webb Simpson shot one-over 281 in this year's U.S. Open at The Olympic Club.
6. Unless someone withdraws or is disqualified during the last 36 holes, a dozen players will make the cut in all four majors this year. Adam Scott (987) and Graeme McDowell (990) are the only two beating par of 992 for the first 14 rounds. Closest to them are Ian Poulter (995), Tiger Woods (997), Padraig Harrington (998) and Jim Furyk (1,001). Those standings indicate a player from outside the United States will post the lowest aggregate total for the 15th time since 1960, but the fourth time in the last five seasons. Harrington won the unofficial title in 2008 (1,139) followed by Ross Fisher (1,138), Mickelson (1,130) and Charl Schwartzel (1,118). Two rounds of par 72 at Kiawah Island would put Scott at 1,131.