PGA Championship 2018: Rickie Fowler, Tiger Woods rolling when weather postponed completion of second round
The story from Friday morning at the PGA Championship, besides the fact you couldn't watch it, was that a host of players had legitimate chances at carding 62s and matching Branden Grace for the low round in major championship history. No one did, but a pair of 63s from Brooks Koepka and Charl Schwartzel tied for the lowest round in PGA Championship history, and they both suggested a sign of things to come in the afternoon.
Unfortunately, another 63 or lower will have to wait, as bad weather suspended second-round play for good right around 5:30 p.m. CDT. The rain robbed many in the afternoon wave of some momentum, including Tiger Woods and Rickie Fowler, who had each begun to make a move before the weather horn went off.
Fowler, of those still to complete their second rounds, is the man closest to the lead at seven under. It places him three back of Gary Woodland, who backed up his opening 64 with a second-round 66 to get to 10-under 130. Following a first-hole bogey, Fowler played his next nine holes in three under, having finished with a birdie at the par-4 10th after sticking his approach to two feet. When he returns in the morning, he'll have a chance to build on that immediately, facing the short par-4 11th that a number of players drove on Friday.
"I feel like we're in a great spot," said Fowler. "Obviously, it would be nice to keep going after birdieing 8 and 10. But the nice thing about the delay and going back out tomorrow morning, we'll get fresh greens. So that will be nice for the final eight holes of the second round."
Woods will have an opportunity to take advantage of the favorable conditions as well, with his next shot coming from the rough at the par-5 eighth following a 321-yard drive. Through seven holes he's three under and has yet to drop a shot. He has a marathon day ahead of him, but he's also optimistic.
"Tomorrow is going to be a long day for a lot of us and try and get back at it early tomorrow morning," said Woods. "The good thing is we're going to have the greens prepared before we go back out there and to finish up our second round. It would have been quite a bit different if we had to go back out this afternoon and finish it up. But the greens will be freshly cut, so it will be just like it was when we played on Thursday."
Another player who had just got it rolling was Billy Horschel. Like Fowler, he also bogeyed his opening hole, the par-4 10th, but came storming back to play his next nine holes in four under. That moved him into a tie for ninth at five under through 11 holes of his second round. Also at five under and still needing to finish his second round is Pat Perez, who carded a two-under 33 on Bellerive's front side before play was suspended.
When they tee off tomorrow, they'll all be chasing Woodland, as well as Kevin Kisner, who also flirted with 62 before making bogey on his final hole, the par-4 ninth. Kisner's front-nine 29 briefly gave him the lead, but Woodland, with whom he played, kept pace, ultimately taking back the lead at the end of their round. Kisner is one back at nine-under 131.
Koepka is alone in third at eight-under 132 following his bogey-free 63. One behind him are Schwartzel, his buddy Dustin Johnson (66), Thomas Pieters (66) and Fowler. Brandon Stone is in solo eighth at six-under 134, while a large group that includes Francesco Molinari, Adam Scott and Jon Rahm are in a tie for ninth at five-under 135.