PGA Championship 2019: A dozen stats that tell the story of Friday's second round at Bethpage
FARMINGDALE, N.Y. — What do you say after Brooks Koepka bruised, battered and bludgeoned Bethpage Black with rounds of 63-65 for the lowest 36-hole total in major-championship history? Maybe this: Try a word that doesn’t begin with “b.” OK, here goes: Koepka leads by seven shots over Jordan Spieth (second-round 66) and Adam Scott (64) for the widest 36-hole margin in PGA Championship history. Tiger Woods, playing with Koepka, finished 72-73—his 145 total trailing the leader by 17 shots—and missed the cut by a shot.
If you’re conceding the championship to Koepka, you might want to stick around to see if can break the PGA record for winning margin, which is eight shots by Rory McIlroy at Kiawah’s Ocean Course in 2012. More on Rory later. On to the day’s stats:
2: Strokes that David Lipsky was penalized for being late (barely) for his 12:43 p.m. tee time at No. 1. Lipsky took only three shots at the first, but the two penalty strokes turned his score into a bogey 5, and he shot a 74 to finish at four over par after 36 … still making the cut on the number.
3: Club professionals who made the cut. Marty Jertsen led the way (T-36 after rounds of 72-69), followed by Ryan Vermeer (T-68 after going 70-74) and Rob Labritz (T-68 after 75-69). That’s the most to make the cut since four played on the weekend in 2005.
5: Biggest previous 36-hole lead in a PGA, by Nick Price in 1994 at Southern Hills. Price shot rounds of 67-65-70-67 to ultimately beat Corey Pavin by six shots. None of the five players who held a four-stroke lead after 36 holes of a PGA went on to win. Tommy Aaron finished T-20 behind Don January in 1967 at Columbine, Gil Morgan finished T-8 behind Dave Stockton in 1976 at Congressional, Tom Watson lost to John Mahaffey in a playoff that included Jerry Pate in 1978 at Oakmont, Greg Norman was runner-up to Bob Tway in 1986 at Inverness, and Tiger Woods finished second to Y.E. Yang in 2009 at Hazeltine National.
T-6: Best major finish by Daniel Berger, who shot a 66 Friday to get to four under, leaving him in a five-way tie at T-4 with Dustin Johnson (67), Kelly Kraft (65), Matt Wallace (67) and Luke List (68). Berger’s T-6 came at last year’s U.S. Open down the road at Shinnecock Hills, where he shot a 66 on Saturday to share the 54-hole lead with Koepka, Johnson and Tony Finau before shooting a final-round 73. Berger’s other top-10 major finish: A T-10 in the 2016 Masters.
9: Biggest 36-hole deficit overcome by a PGA winner, by Bob Rosburg (T-18 after 36 in 1959 at Minneapolis) and Bob Tway (T-17 in 1986 at Inverness). Hmm: There are only 17 players within 10 strokes of Koepka.
10: Additional strokes Danny Lee took in the second round after opening with a 64. On Friday, Lee started on the back nine and shot 41 before finishing with a 74. His take on the back nine: “Bethpage kicked my ass.”
24: Number of times a PGA 36-hole leader has gone on to win in 61 previous stroke-play events.
24: Cuts made in the PGA by Phil Mickelson in 27 appearances. (He’s T-26 at Bethpage after rounds of 69-71.) The cuts-made record is 27 by Jack Nicklaus and Raymond Floyd, followed by Tom Watson (25) and Hale Irwin, Arnold Palmer and Mickelson (24).
30: Back-nine score Friday for Rich Beem, the 2002 PGA winner at Hazeltine National who made five birdies and four pars to beat Andrew Filbert’s total on the back by 15 shots. Beem finished with a 69 to get to four over par and make the cut on the number.
31: Rory McIlroy’s score on the front nine Friday after playing the back in 40 and looking like he was going to miss the cut. But he made it, with a stroke to spare, after rounds of 72-71. His motivation? “Pride,” he said. “Just pride.”
130: Best previous 36-hole score in the PGA, by Gary Woodland (64-66, 10 under) last year at Bellerive before Koepka’s 63-65—128 (12 under) at Bethpage. Koepka’s 128 also sets the major-championship record for low first 36 holes.
130: Looking ahead to the weekend, this is the best 36-hole finish in PGA Championship history. Don’t remember who did it? Tiger Woods with a 66-64 finish (10 under par) last year at Bellerive, where he finished second behind Brooks Koepka. Second-best 36-hole finish: 66-65—131 (nine under) by Mark Calcavecchia in 2001 at Atlanta Athletic Club, where he finished T-4 behind David Toms.
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