Monday, 20 August, 2018

Tiger charges into the hunt as Koepka takes lead at 100th PGA

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A late storm on Friday in St. Louis stalled Tiger Woods' charge up the leaderboard at the PGA Championship, and he trailed leader Gary Woodland by six strokes after finishing up his second round on Saturday morning.

At the time he walked to the clubhouse, US Open Champion Brooks Koepka was playing so well he had built up a four shot lead. And then the birdie, settling for par that, inside, had to have felt like bogey (or worse).

Tiger Woods, who won his 14th major in 2008, shot 66 to end on eight under.

Sirens blared across Bellerive, putting the second round of the PGA Championship on hold and ending a day of scoring rarely seen in a major.

Like his final-round surge at The Open last month, excitement mounted as the 42-year-old briefly moved within two shots of the lead.

Koepka is in third place at 8-under-par for the tournament.

That left Woods five strokes off the pace of United States compatriot Koepka, who birdied five of his first nine holes to make the turn on 13-under par, three shots ahead of Americans Rickie Fowler and Gary Woodland with Australian Adam Scott, the 2013 Masters champion, and American Kevin Kisner another stroke adrift.

The PGA have confirmed their third-round tee times, with Woods out on the course at 12:21pm local time.

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After getting out of position on 4, he laid up with his second then almost holed a pitch for birdie.

Woods made three birdies in five holes and was seven shots behind. The previous was the 1980 U.S. Open won by Jack Nicklaus, who shot 63 in the first round at Baltusrol along with Tom Weiskopf.

"I was just trying to make the thing, and I really thought I made it", Koepka said.

Kisner shot 29 on the back nine - his first nine - and was threatening to shoot a tournament-record 62 but bogeyed the final hole and settled for 64. A heavy rainstorm on Friday night will produce even lower scores than Bellerive saw on Friday.

Ten years removed from his 14th and most recent major title, he displayed shades of his pre-back surgery greatness with a near-flawless front nine on the rain-soaked layout.

With a heat index north of triple digits and the kind of humidity that makes the championship's relocation to the more comfortable confines of May starting next year a welcome reprieve, the strongest have risen to the top. Justin Rose (-4) leads the English challenge, with Matt Wallace and Ian Poulter just a shot back.

Being unable to score on the back nine has been a constant for Woods all week. His first par of the round didn't come until after the turn. The kicker came at the par 5 17th.

"I feel safe because I feel safe where my game is", Woodland said.

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