McIlroy hits the turn in 34, after draining a 30-footer for birdie at 9. Suddenly he’s +1. Koepka has a much better chance from ten feet, but pulls it wide, and the opportunity to close the gap on Mickelson is gone. He remains at -3. But there’s more misery for JT, who really doesn’t look like turning this around. Having sent a big pull into the thick nonsense down the left from the tee, he does very well to give himself a five-foot chance to salvage his par, but that flies by. He’s +6.
A chip-in from the back of 12 for Tyrrell Hatton! He doesn’t bother celebrating much, coming off the back of a four-putt double-bogey on 11. They haven’t shown any footage of that, which is a shame, because there are few players who can fume in the expansive style like Tyrrell. We don’t like to see it, of course, won’t anyone think of the kids, etc., though anyone who has helicoptered a club with great feeling will know exactly how cathartic it can be. He’s -1.
Some birdie action in the group behind on 7. It’s two in a row for Hideki Matsuyama, and the second of the day for Bryson DeChambeau, who is ticking along in uncharacteristically quiet, careful fashion. They’re -1 and -2 respectively.
Justin Thomas is playing right on the brink. Birdie at 7, his first of the day, wipes out the shot he dropped at 2. He’s where he started the day at +3. But with the cut projected at +4 at the moment, he needs to take care. However at the par-three 8th, he sends his tee shot into a thick clump of grass on the edge of one of those sandy areas. He doesn’t have a stance, so is forced to turn his club around and poke out left-handed. With the grass grabbing the hosel, he does well to connect, never mind punch his ball out onto the apron, but the putter goes cold and he’s still dropping two shots. He’s back to +5, and in a wee spot of trouble if he wants to stay for the weekend.
A third opportunity in a row for Louis Oosthuizen to make birdie and snatch a share of the lead. A third putt rolls by. He’ll be happy to be turning in 33, though given the amount of birdie putts he’s had, he could be going absurdly low. He remains at -4.
Brooks Koepka, having just bogeyed 4 and 6, desperately needed something to happen. And something has indeed happened! He rakes a monster eagle putt across the par-five 7th straight into the cup! A 40-foot tramliner that never looked like missing! Meanwhile up on the par-five 11th, birdie for Paul Casey, who joins him at -3. No birdie at 7 for McIlroy, though, as he prods with great uncertainty at an eight-footer. Very poor, and he remains at +2.
Tell you what, Lee Westwood has been quiet this week. But he shot 73 yesterday, and after a birdie at the par-five 7th that snapped a string of pars, he’s level par for the tournament. If 50-year-old Lefty can win this, then so can Westy, a relative spring chicken at 48.
Louis Oosthuizen has had a putt for birdie and a share of the lead at 7; he’s now had another go at 8. Neither dropped, but he’s knocking at the door. This stretch from 7 to 12 is the window of opportunity, the wind blowing in a much friendlier direction.
Another birdie for Wallace! A third in a row! This one’s steered in from 40 feet, a big right-to-left swinger, and the 31-year-old from Sunningdale moves to -2, three off Mickelson’s lead. A reminder that Wallace has good form at the PGA, finishing tied for third a couple of years ago at Bethpage Black, albeit never really in contention, with Brooks Koepka running riot, Dustin Johnson the only man to apply a bit of pressure. But third place is third place is third place, and he could be in the mood to take a proper tilt at the Wanamaker Trophy this time.
McIlroy makes his birdie putt on 6! He springs back to +2, and there’s a notable bounce in his step as well as he strides forward to pluck the ball from the hole. Meanwhile Matt Wallace is one of the latest starters this afternoon. He doesn’t seem to be having too much of a wrestle with the conditions, though. Birdies at 3 and 4, and he’s -1.
Hovland isn’t taking this lying down, and rolls in a birdie putt from the fringe at the back of 6. He’s back up to -2. McIlroy, coming in the group behind, knocks his second to almost exactly the same position. He’s got that to move into red figures for the day.
A word for the English duo of Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton. Like the South Africans on Mickelson’s tail, both will have plenty of experience in windy conditions on links or links-style courses, for reasons that won’t need explaining. So perhaps no huge surprise that they’re both in good nick right now, out in 35 strokes, one under for their round, and -2 overall.
Tringale takes 10
Here’s a run that will make weekend hackers across the globe feel a bit better about themselves. Poor old Cameron Tringale led the PGA Championship for a bit yesterday, as he shot a magnificent 70. The man is no fool. But he’s just carded a triple bogey at 14, a quadruple bogey at 17, and a quintuple bogey at the par-three 16th. His last five holes: 6-4-10-7-5. Out in 48. The 10 was the result of finding the water twice. We’ve all been there, plenty more often than Cameron. He’s +10, having been -3 less than a couple of hours ago, after birdie at 11. Golf, ladies and gentlemen.
Louis Oosthuizen may be the exception that proves the rule. He rolls in his third birdie putt of the day, at 6, and moves to within a shot at -4. He’s missed a couple of other half chances as well. South Africa currently occupies three of the top four places in this leaderboard; it may be no coincidence that Oosthuizen, Grace and Bezuidenhout all have experience back home on windy seaside courses.
Three putts for Keegan Bradley on 14. He slips back to -2. Somewhere on the estate, Phil Mickelson pops his feet up on a chaise lounge, cigar on.
Rory McIlroy nearly curls in a 25-footer on 4 for birdie. Just a par, as the ball dies off to the left on its final turn. He baton-twirls his putter in frustration, and nearly sticks the shaft into his startled coupon. Fortunately he leans back and manages to catch it just in time. In fact, he pulls that off reasonably casually, and saunters off with both face and supercool intact. However there’s no good news for Brooks Koepka, who yips a short one for par and slips back to -2.
Collin Morikawa screams at his ball to stop on top of the upturned green at 3. It obeys his order, but then he races a hugely excitable birdie putt 12 feet past the hole. He’s unable to make the one coming back, and that’s his second bogey in the first three holes. The defending champion is back to level par.
Hovland is going backwards at pace. Another visit into a sandy area, this time from the tee at 4, and he runs up a double. A shot off the lead a few minutes back, he’s now -1.
What are the chances of anyone in the afternoon wave making a run at the leader? Never say never, but the chances aren’t huge: the conditions are trickier this afternoon, and of the morning starters, only Phil Mickelson and Daniel Berger broke 70, the pair shooting 69s. So it’ll take a Herculean effort. It wouldn’t be the biggest surprise if things look fairly similar at the top of the standings come sunset.
The Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama returns to level par for the championship. Greenside at the 2nd in two, he clipped his third to four feet, then tidied up. He’ll be in a decent mood, having scrambled a fine par on the opening hole after hooking his drive into filth.
A fast start for Louis Oosthuizen. Birdie at 1, and now a 30-foot downhill birdie putt on 4. The 38-year-old South African, a runner-up in 2017 behind Justin Thomas at Quail Hollow, moves to -3.
Bryson’s drive at 2 found sand down the left. He lays up. No heroics … though his wedge in isn’t much good. Two putts for par shouldn’t be an issue, but he’s a good 25 feet from the flag. Up on 3, it’s a bogey for Hovland, whose drive found a penalty area. He’s -3, and Mickelson’s lead is now two again.
McIlroy can’t make his par putt, and he falls back to +3. He flings his ball away in theatrical disgust. Bogey for Justin Thomas, too, and he’s +4. Brooks, the third member of this stellar group, takes two putts for his par to remain a couple off the lead at -3.
McIlroy thins his sand shot through the back of the green. He gets a mouthful of sand as punishment. He’s now stuck up a grassy bank, with very little green to play with. He lobs on extremely aggressively, and is fortunate not to see his ball topple back off the front. He’ll have a 20-footer to save his par. What looked like a good birdie opportunity has turned to dust.
Birdie for Bryson DeChambeau at 1, though he follows that by hoicking his drive at 2 towards waste ground and a big tree down the left. Up the hole, Rory McIlroy sends his second into a greenside bunker, while Brooks Koepka, having sent a huge slice into the crowd from the tee, takes his medicine then sends his third over the flag to 12 feet. It’s fair to say everyone’s playing this hole differently at the minute.
What an astonishing shot by Viktor Hovland on the par-five 2nd! He creams a fairway wood over a tree from 227 yards to six feet! However it is his fourth shot, having got into all sorts of sandy bother from his drive. He makes the putt, and that’s one of the strangest pars you’ll see for a long while. He remains in second spot at -4.
An up-and-down start for the 2011 champ Keegan Bradley. Bogey at 10 followed by birdie at 11, and he remains at -3. A slow start for the reigning champion, too, as Collin Morikawa sends his second at 1 into a depression to the right of the green, then only just manages to lob up onto the putting surface. His 15-foot par putt bobbles, and so he drops back to -1.
Ian Poulter finishes his round with a par at 18. It’s been a miserable traipse home for the 45-year-old Englishman, who was six under for his round through 11 holes. Subsequent bogeys at 13, 14, 16 and 17 mean he’s signing for a 70. He’s level par going into the weekend, which isn’t bad at all, but could have been so much better. Meanwhile a three-putt bogey for Martin Laird at 12, and he slips out of second place to -3.
A perfect start for McIlroy! He sends his second at 1 pin high to ten feet, and rolls in the birdie putt. He’s +2. Par for Brooks Koepka, who remains at -3. And news of Viktor Hovland, in the group before these lads: an opening birdie, and he joins Martin Laird in second place.
A second-round 74 for the world number one Dustin Johnson. He ends the second round at +6, despite eagle at 7 and birdie at the 9th, and is extremely unlikely to survive the cut. That’s currently predicted to fall at +3, and while it will most likely go out a further stroke – and possibly as far as +5, given the increasingly difficult conditions – it’s surely not going to save DJ. Incidentally, on the subject of the weather: the wind is up at Kiawah. On Sky, their excellent new pundit Brad Faxon reckons the second wave will average two or maybe even three more shots than the morning starters. Phil Mickelson is in very good nick right now.
Thanks Niall. Before we get properly involved with the second wave, a word about the Masters runner-up Will Zalatoris, who responded brilliantly to that mini-meltdown all around the 3rd green. The triple-bogey seven he ran up sent him crashing down towards the cut line at +3, but unlike – to pull one name from the ether – Ian Poulter, he closed out his round magnificently. Birdies at 7 and 9 sprung him back up to +1. He really is one cool cat.
Here comes Rory, teeing off at the first. It’s straight down the middle! And on that bombshell, I’ll hand back to your friend and mine, Scott Murray…
Martin Laird, outright leader for a brief spell yesterday, has made an excellent start today. He sends a long-range eagle putt close, and should be able to add a second straight birdie. That will put him on four-under, and alone in second place.
Ian Poulter is three-under for the day and well-placed on -1 overall, but something’s gone awry on the 17th, as we see his visor poking out from a crowd of spectators. He makes up for his errant approach shot with a fine recovery into the heart of the green. Poulter is still left with a horrible par putt into the wind, and comes up short.
Elsewhere, Spieth completes his second round with another missed half-chance at a birdie. He’ll be three over … no he won’t, as he fluffs the par putt, too. Yikes. He’s four over, and should still make the cut, but that will sting.
So, that cut line – it’s currently three-over-par, with plenty of big names already packing after their second rounds. Jason Day, Patrick Reed have finished five-over, while Sergio García (oh Sergio!) and Webb Simpson are running out of time. Tommy Fleetwood, seven over after his two rounds, is heading home.
Dustin Johnson has had a rough week so far, but he gives himself a glimmer of hope of making the cut with an exceptional eagle putt on the seventh, which trundles up hill and down dale before finding the cup. He moves to six over par, still an awful lot to do.
Gary Woodland briefly edged up to three-under, only to drop back on the 17th. One man who is in that big group tied for second is Cameron Tringale, who has made a fine start to his round, one under after three.
Here’s the latest leaderboard, with local start times for those not under way yet.