2017 PGA Championship leaderboard breakdown: Round 2 coverage, scores
The second round of the 99th PGA Championship is in the books; here's how the leaderboard looks
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Two golfers with wildly different games co-lead the 2017 PGA Championship after two rounds were almost completed on Friday at Quail Hollow. Kevin Kisner with his wizardly short game shot 67-67 to get to 8 under after 36 holes. Hideki Matsuyama, with his towering irons and mesmerizing drives, shot 70-64 to equal that 134 total. They'll be paired together in the final group on Saturday afternoon, and both will be in search of their first majors.
Kisner has made nary a mistake in his first two rounds. He finished with a 14-hole bogey-less streak on Friday. The incredible part of it all is that Kisner is doing this at what, before the rain fell on Friday afternoon, was the hardest major golfers have played all year. At least according to Rickie Fowler.
"If you look at the majors, this is probably the hardest test we've had this year," said Fowler. "That's saying something. Just as far as golf course standpoint with it firm and the rough up, and the greens drying out and firm, this is -- you can't miss your lines or your numbers by very much and get away with it."
Kisner has been lights out thus far as his four bogeys are tied for fourth-fewest in the field. But he's also been aggressive on a week where it's been difficult to do so.
Now Kisner will take his first 36-hole lead or co-lead at a major into the weekend. Does he have staying power? More than most. Kisner is not a star or superstar, but he's a really solid PGA Tour player who ranks No. 7 this year in strokes gained. In other words, it's not a fluke that he's leading the golf tournament.
"I'm just excited about the opportunity," said Kisner after he touched off his second straight 67. "I'm really fired up about it the way I'm hitting the golf ball. I haven't hit it this well this whole summer. A lot of averages finishes. When I start hitting it the way I am now, I play well. So I'm looking forward to the weekend and having an opportunity to keep making birdies and playing well."
Even if he does play well, he and Matsuyama will have a ton of chasers (which we'll get to in a minute). Big names like Jason Day, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler are on their heels, but Kisner said on Friday it's time to prove he belongs.
"I've been upset with how I've played in the majors so far in my career," said Kisner. "I feel like I have the game to compete in majors and tons of 30th to 40th, 50th-place finishes. That's kind of been our goal for the year. We haven't played well in them yet this year but every year you learn more about the majors and how to approach them.
"I've played mini-tours, learned how to win there; played the Web.com Tour, learned how to win there; got to the PGA TOUR, learned how to win there. The next step is competing and winning major championships. I think a big step is just understanding that no lead is safe."
The trick this week on an insanely tough course will be staying aggressive but not getting too aggressive. Fowler talked a lot about that on Friday, and Kisner mentioned it as well.
"I think that's one of the biggest things people don't understand is how good guys play coming down the stretch, and you have to continue to make birdies," said Kisner. "You can't just expect that somebody is going to hand you the tournament out here."
Matsuyama certainly will not. His post-rain delay 64 tied for the round of the day on Friday, and he had a putt for a 63 on the final hole. Yes, the course was easier after Kisner finished up in the morning and rain drenched the turf, but it wasn't that much easier. Incredibly, Matsuyama did all of this while barely making any lengthy putts. However, he did make every medium-length birdie he looked at.
"I did switch putters last week," said Matsuyama. "It seems that carried over well this week. The greens here at Quail Hollow, as you know, are really fast. And there's a lot of putts that honestly, I'm not trying to make. I'm just trying to get it up near the hole, and a lot of them are going in."
Matsuyama is also new to having the 36-hole lead at a major, although he's won more worldwide than Kisner has in his career.
"I don't know if the other players should be nervous or not, but this is my first experience leading a major, or tied for the lead after 36 holes," said Matsuyama. "And so being a new experience, maybe I'll be a little nervous, but on the other hand, I'm looking forward to the weekend and seeing how I do."
We all are. Hopefully the course will get even more rain on Saturday, and we can have ourselves a good old-fashioned shootout with Matsuyama and Kisner leading the way. Here are the guys that will be waiting to pounce if they start to falter.
T1. Kevin Kisner (-8): As I mentioned, Kisner is not a fool's gold halfway leader like some we've seen in recent memory. He might fade, but he's not going to go quietly.
T1. Hideki Matsuyama (-8): Matsuyama will be the favorite going into Saturday, and he should be. His three-round stretch starting at the end of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational last week might be one of the great three-round stretches in history.
3. Jason Day (-6): It looked for a while like Day might match Matsuyama and Kisner. He stood on the 15th tee (a par 5) just two strokes back. Four pars later, he was still two back but with nobody between him and the leaders.
T4. Chris Stroud, Louis Oosthuizen, Francesco Molinari (-5): Molinari matched Matsuyama's 64, albeit with much less fanfare. He and Oosthuizen have a little juice, and Stroud might be the feel-good story of the week as he didn't get in the field until winning the Barracuda Championship last week.
T7. Justin Thomas, Paul Casey Rickie Fowler (-3): Fowler still has not hit the ball all that well this week. That's mildly concerning if you're rooting for him to win, but he looks so confident getting up and down that I'm not sure it matters. He's currently top five in strokes gained putting (and No. 1 on the PGA Tour in that statistic this year). Thomas and Casey are both also looking for major No. 1 of their careers. They took advantage of the softer afternoon conditions with nine birdies between them.
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