Woods Shares Lead At PGA ChampionshipAugust 11th, 2012 8:26 am Associated Press
KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. (AP) — One chip rolled all the way to the edge of the hole and stopped. A couple putts fell in after 360-degree journeys around the lip of the cup.
With the wind gusting and scores skyrocketing, Tiger Woods moved methodically to the top of the leaderboard Friday at the PGA Championship, setting himself up for a weekend run at his first major title since 2008. He did it with his short game, chipping and putting his way to a 1-under 71 in the second round.
“I don’t know what the forecast is,” Woods said. “If it’s anything like this over the weekend, with no rain, it’s going to be tough. It’s going to be tough to get the ball close to these holes.”
On the toughest scoring day in PGA Championship history, Woods ended up sharing the lead with Vijay Singh and Carl Pettersson. They were at 4-under 140. Woods and Singh will play in the final twosome Saturday.
Singh, a three-time major champion who hasn’t won in nearly four years, scratched out five birdies in a remarkable round of 3-under 69. Only three other players managed to break par in the second round — Woods, Phil Mickelson and Ian Poulter shot 71.
Woods one-putted 23 greens in the first two rounds.
“My short game’s been good,” he said. “I’ve made a few changes, and it was actually pretty good at the British Open, as well.”
It’s the second time this year that Woods has had a share of the lead in a major going into the weekend. He missed one chance at Olympic Club in the U.S. Open, when he stumbled to a 75-73 to tie for 21st. He was in the penultimate group at the British Open until a triple bogey on the sixth hole of the final round took him out of the mix.
From sunrise on Friday, the wind was relentless, and there were more rounds in the 90s — two of them by club pros — than in the 60s. More than 30 players failed to break 80.
If the first round was about scoring, the second was about survival.
Pettersson stayed in the lead as long as he could until a few errant tee shots cost him at the end of his round and he had to settle for a 74.
“It was a difficult day,” Pettersson said. “I hit some squirrely shots which is typical when it’s blowing 30 miles an hour, but I hit some really good ones, too. It’s just very difficult to get any rhythm in the round of hitting fairways and greens and my short game was good, which was nice on days like this.”
Woods, playing on the opposite side of the course, showed early on that he figured out something with his putter.
Along with birdie putts of 15 feet and 40 feet on Nos. 2 and 4, there was a collection of big par saves — from 20 feet on the third hole, a pair of 8-foot par putts a few holes later. There were even two short par putts that swirled all the way around the cup and dropped.
His biggest slip may have come at the very end, when he three-putted the 18th for bogey. Poulter also bogeyed the last hole, costing himself a share of the lead.
The course played so difficult that one player failed to finish — Joost Luiten of the Netherlands, who was 1 over for the tournament and will return Saturday morning to finish his round. The scoring average was 78.11. The previous record for the PGA Championship was 76.8 in the opening round at Llanerch Country Club in 1958.
Poulter was one shot back, and several other big names were within five shots of the lead, including Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, Mickelson, Graeme McDowell and even John Daly.
There were 44 players under par after the opening day. Going into the weekend, there were only 10.
“After a while, you don’t really think about your score,” Singh said. “You just think about each hole, each shot and just try not to mess up. It was one of my better rounds. I didn’t strike the ball as good, but I scored really, really well. And I think that was the key.”
McIlroy didn’t make a birdie until his 14th hole — a tough par 3 that he has birdied both rounds — and had a 75. He was at 2-under 142, along with Jamie Donaldson of Wales, who had a 73 and was thrilled after his morning round. “That’s the best I can do,” he said.
Scott also had a 75 to join the group at 143 that included Aaron Baddeley (75), Blake Adams (72) and former Masters champion Trevor Immelman (72).