The Latest: Good scores available, ground to make up, at PGA

The Latest: Good scores available, ground to make up, at PGA
The Latest: Good scores available, ground to make up, at PGA

ST. LOUIS (AP) – The Latest on the PGA Championship, golf’s final major of the year (all times local):

3:25 p.m.

No pressure, guys, but there are good scores for the taking at Bellerive.

After watching Charl Schwartzel and Brooks Koepka each tie the PGA record of 63, the afternoon wave is out on the course with plenty of ground to make up.

Tiger Woods and Rafael Cabrera-Bello are among the few closing in. They each have three birdies on their front nines to get to 3 under for the tournament – seven behind leader Gary Woodland.

Defending champion Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy are in neutral.

Thomas has made only one birdie and is at 2 under.

And McIlroy has opened the day with seven straight pars, including a save from 15 feet on No. 7 after hitting into a bunker from 105 yards away in the fairway. He’s at even-par, just inside the current cut line.


3 p.m.

Tiger Woods is getting in on the birdie bash at Bellerive.

Woods opened his round with three birdies over the first five holes to get to 3 under for the tournament.

There’s pressure on the afternoon players, following a morning round that produced two PGA-record scores of 63. And even though Brooks Koepka and Charl Schwartzel posted those numbers, they weren’t winning the tournament. It was Gary Woodland in the lead at 10 under, after shooting a 66.


2:35 p.m.

Tony Finau has the flat stick working.

He has made six birdies over the first seven holes. Five of those birdies have come on putts of longer than 20 feet. The other – an “easy” 10 footer.

The only hole Finau didn’t birdie was No. 6 – a long par 3 where he teed off into the water and ended up making 6.

He is 3 under for the day, and now 1 over for the tournament, with the cut line currently at even-par on a low-scoring day at Bellerive.


2:15 p.m.

Ben Kern made a birdie on the 18th hole, and now has to wait through the afternoon to see if he’ll be the lone club pro to make the cut.

Kern, who works out of Georgetown Country Club in Texas, made the birdie to shoot 1-under 69 and get to even-par for the tournament. The top 70 players and ties will play the weekend, and when he left the course, Kern was among the group above the line, in a 14-way tie for 60th.

Others who finished the day at even-par for the tournament were Kevin Chappell, Nick Watney and Ted Potter Jr.


1:15 p.m.

Charl Schwartzel matched the low round at a PGA Championship with his 7-under 63 on Friday, about half an hour after U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka did likewise at Bellerive.

There hadn’t been two 63s on the same day in a major championship since the 1980 U.S. Open, when Jack Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf shot rounds of 7 under at Baltusrol.

Schwartzel had 30 feet for birdie at his final hole, which would have given him a 62 and matched Branden Grace’s low round in a major. Schwartzel wound up with a two-putt par.

Schwartzel and Koepka didn’t approach the best rounds relative to par at a PGA. That record is 9 under, set by Gary Player at Shoal Creek in 1984 and matched by Jose Maria Olazabal in 2000 at Valhalla and Hiroshi Iwata three years ago at Whistling Straits.


12:45 p.m.

Brooks Koepka has matched the lowest round at a PGA Championship, shooting a bogey-free round of 7-under 63 on Friday to move within two shots of clubhouse leader Gary Woodland.

Woodland shot a second-round 66 to reach 10 under. His 230 total is the best 36-hole score at a PGA Championship, though not the best relative to par – that mark is 11 under.

Kevin Kisner had a chance to shoot 62 with a birdie at his final hole Friday, but he chunked his approach and made bogey. That left him with a 64 and dropped him into second place, one shot back.

The only 62 in a major championship was Branden Grace’s third round at last year’s British Open.


12:15 p.m.

Bubba Watson must have felt out of place during his second round at the PGA Championship.

While he was watching Adam Scott shoot 5-under 65 and Dustin Johnson shoot 66, the two-time Masters champion was struggling to an 8-over 78 that will cause him to miss the cut.

Watson, who finished second at the PGA in 2010, was even-par to start the day, and he was still just 1 over after a birdie at the par-5 17th. But he followed with a double-bogey to finish his first nine, added three bogeys and another double on the back, and promptly packed his bags.

Perhaps all that hacking caught up with Scott, whose only bogey Friday came on his final hole.


12 p.m.

Dustin Johnson has five birdies in a six-hole stretch on his second nine, sending the world’s top-ranked player to 4 under for his second round at the PGA Championship.

Johnson’s run began after a bogey at the second when he knocked a wedge to within 10 feet at the par-3 third. He made a long birdie putt at the next hole, knocked his approach close at the fifth and again at the seventh, then two-putted for birdie at the par-5 eighth.

Johnson also missed a 10-footer for birdie at the sixth.


11:40 a.m.

Keep an eye on the cut line at the PGA Championship. It keeps trending toward the red numbers, meaning it could take being under par just to play the weekend.

And that could mean trouble for some big names.

As the early wave begins to post some low numbers, it’s putting players such as Sergio Garcia under some pressure. Garcia was even for his round and the championship with a few holes to play, and is trying to impress European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn with a strong showing this week.

Tiger Woods is among those playing this afternoon. He also opened with a 70 on Thursday, which means it could take a round in the 60s just to play this weekend.


10:55 a.m.

As expected, low scores are there for the taking in the second round of the PGA Championship.

Kevin Kisner and Brooks Koepka are each 6 under for their round, and first-round leader Gary Woodland is 3 under for the day and 9 under for the championship.

Andrew Landry bounced back from an opening 73 to string together five birdies in his first six holes Friday. Charl Schwartzel and Adam Scott were among those 4 under for the day.

Bellerive was playing shorter Friday than for the opening round. Throw in greens that players have figured out and still conditions and it’s no surprise that guys are going low.


10:25 a.m.

Kevin Kisner made six birdies and shot 29 on his opening nine of Friday’s second round at the PGA Championship, moving him to the top of the leaderboard at 9 under for the tournament.

Now, the record-watching begins.

The only 62 in a major championship came from Branden Grace at the 2017 British Open at Royal Birkdale. The record relative to par is 9 under, most recently by Justin Thomas at least year’s U.S. Open at Erin Hills. Hiroshi Iwata also had a 9-under round at the 2015 PGA at Whistling Straits.


10 a.m.

Jordan Spieth’s ball found the hazard to the right of the 17th hole. Twice.

Spieth had just made birdie at the par-3 16th when he faced his tee shot into the creek running along the next hole. The ball hung up in a bush and a marshal politely pointed it out to Spieth, who picked it up and then promptly chucked it into the water.

Spieth has struggled to keep any momentum going as he pursues the career grand slam. He fought for a 1-over 71 in the first round but had gotten it to 1 under before his struggles at the 17th.


9:45 a.m.

Kevin Kisner has charged into the lead at the PGA Championship, the straight-as-an-arrow Georgian making four birdies in his first six holes to reach 7 under for the tournament.

There could be quite a few low scores Friday at Bellerive.

The course is playing shorter than it did in the opening round, including a driveable par-4 on the back nine. The greens are also rolling more quickly, and more to the players’ liking, after they were a touch slow Thursday from rain early in the week.

Adam Scott and Matt Wallace each were 4 under through their first nine Friday.


9:15 a.m.

The total purse for the PGA Championship has increased to $11 million, matching the Masters and The Players Championship for the second-biggest on the PGA Tour this year.

Only the U.S. Open at $12 million had more on the line.

The $500,000 bump from last year means the winner’s share Sunday at Bellerive will be $1,980,000. Second is worth $1,880,000 and the rest of the top 24 are guaranteed six-figure paydays.

Even those failing to make Friday’s 36-hole cut will walk away with $3,100.


9 a.m.

Dustin Johnson has been dodging trouble all morning at the PGA Championship.

The world’s top-ranked player opened his second round by driving so far right that he needed to take a penalty drop, but hit his approach shot from 208 yards close and managed to salvage par.

Two holes later, Johnson drove into a fairway bunker but got up-and-down from 86 yards for par.

Those wayward tee shots caught up to him at the par-4 15th, his sixth hole, when he drove it into the thick rough. Johnson could only hack his way out and wound up making bogey.

Another poor tee shot the following hole had him in more trouble.


8:30 a.m.

Satoshi Kodaira delivered the first eagle of the PGA Championship when he put his drive at the short, par-4 11th within 5 feet of the hole and rolled in his putt.

The hole could see a couple more eagles during the second round, too.

It was the fourth-easiest hole in the opening round when it played 362 yards, but playing from a forward tee Friday makes it a reachable 298 yards – and a tantalizing risk-reward opportunity.

Kodaira was rewarded for his perfect drive with an eagle. But a wayward tee shot by someone going for the green could end up in the water guarding the right front.


7:45 a.m.

Gary Woodland was one putt away from tying the 18-hole record at the PGA Championship. He missed the birdie and signed for a 6-under 64.

That gives him a one-shot lead going into the second round, and not much else.

Woodland had the lead for the first time after any round in a major, but the top 15 players were separated by a mere three shots.

Woodland is among those playing Friday morning.

That group includes Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth. Johnson made two late bogeys for a 67. Spieth needs to win the PGA to complete a career Grand Slam.

The first step for Spieth is making it to the weekend. He opened with 71. It’s the third straight major he failed to break par in the first round.

Tiger Woods watches his tee shot on the second hole during the first round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at Bellerive Country Club, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)