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Kevin Kisner has announced his presence at the PGA Championship.
Playing Friday morning before the rain came in the afternoon and delayed the finish of the second round, Kisner shot his second consecutive 67 to take a share of the lead in the last major championship of the year at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina.
When Kisner finished his round, he had a four-stroke lead on the field, but Hideki Matsuyama was not about to let Kisner get away.
Matsuyama put on a charge late in the second round, and he fired a seven-under 64 and tied Kisner for the tournament lead. Matsuyama will be paired with Kisner for Saturday’s round.
Kisner has been working to improve his swing, and it has paid off through the first two rounds of the tournament.
“I’ve always fought a push to the right and got sick and tired of it,” Kisner said after the round, per Andrew Both of Reuters. “Hitting fairways are key. I’m hitting the ball really nice and things are going my way. The bad shots are working out and the good shots are working out and I’m making a lot of putts.”
Matusyama credited his putting for his recent success. “My putting has saved me,” Matsuyama said through his translator Bob Turner, while being interviewed by TNT’s Amanda Balionis after his round. “I hit some good shots and some loose ones, but I putted the ball well.
“I’ve been able to read the putts better the last couple of weeks, and I am also using a new putter. I think that might have helped.”
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Since 2000, two players have shot a bogey-free 64 or better in the #PGAChamp. They both went on to win. Will Hideki join them this week? https://t.co/bxkxsEMVhH
In addition to Kisner and Matsuyama, Rickie Fowler moved into contention with a second-round score of 70. Fowler shot a two-under 69 in the first round, and he is five strokes behind Kisner as he prepares for his second round.
Fowler’s performance is even more impressive considering he had a triple-bogey seven during the first round. Fowler says he can’t look at the scoreboard and must take advantage of his opportunities when they come.
“I have to stay patient,” Fowler said, per The Guardian. “I have to go through the process, make sure we’re making the right decisions on each hole with each shot. With the way I’ve been playing, how I’m swinging this week and last week going into it, I know I can win this week. It’s more in between the ears, and not get ahead of myself. If we do that, it will be all right.”
Jason Day and Louis Oosthuizen both charged up the leaderboard with excellent play. Day shot a five-under 66 and could have moved within one stroke of the lead if he had been able to hole a birdie putt on the 18th that was struck in near-darkness. Day won the 2015 PGA Championship, and he is six under par for the tournament
Oosthuizen shot a 67 in the second round, and he is five-under for the tournament.
Jordan Spieth did not put himself in a position to complete the career grand slam. He is three-over through two rounds, and while he did make the cut, he is 11 strokes behind the co-leaders.
Rory McIlroy is slightly better at two over par, but it will be quite difficult for the two-time PGA champion to get back into contention.
The cut line is projected to include all players who are five over par or better.
The following pairings will return to the course at 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday to complete their second round:
Padraig Harrington, Keegan Bradley, Davis Love III
Zach Johnson, Lee Westwood, Charley Hoffman
David Lingmerth, Scott Brown, Nicolas Colsaerts
Scott Hend, Kenny Pigman, Andrew Johnston
Kelly Kraft, Brian Smock, Patrick Rodgers
Thorbjorn Olesen, Brendan Steele, Hudson Swafford
Cameron Smith, Bernd Wiesberger, Brandon Stone
K.T. Kim, Greg Gregory, James Hahn
Richard Sterne, Ryan Vermeer, Chris Stroud
Starting times for each pairing in the third round won’t become official until the players complete their second-round play.
The third round is expected to commence at 10 a.m. ET.
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It’s difficult to think that either Kisner or Matsuyama will suffer much of a fall-off in Saturday’s round. Kisner has been the most consistent player with back-to-back rounds of 67, while Matsuyama has been red hot coming into the PGA Championship, and he showed his best form Friday.
In addition to those two, look for Day and Oosthuizen to continue their charge. Day has not enjoyed a good season, but he appears to have found his form at Quail Hollow. Oosthuizen has the short game to string birdies together.
Look for Day to have the lead at the end of the third round, holding a short lead over Kisner and Matsuyama.