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Woodland keeps lead in PGA; second round suspended due to heavy rain

The San Diego Union-Tribune — By Tod Leonard The San Diego Union-Tribune

Aug. 10-- ST. LOUIS-It says a lot about the 100th PGA Championship that Brooks Koepka and Charl Schwartzel tied the tournament scoring record by shooting 7-under-par 63s on Friday and they don't hold the lead after the morning wave of the second round.

The top spot belongs to first-round leader Gary Woodland, who backed up his 64 on Thursday with a 4-under 66 at Bellerive Country Club to get to 10 under overall.

Woodland was able to sleep on the lead for the second straight night after play was suspended for the day due to heavy rain. Golfers originally were called off the course at 4:35 p.m. EDT; the PGA of America officially suspended the round at 6:30.

Players in the afternoon wave had completed between 4 and 12 holes. They will resume play at 8 a.m. EDT Saturday, with the third round expected to begin at about 12:15 p.m. TNT will begin coverage at 8 and continue until CBS takes over at 2.

Woodland held a one-shot lead over Kevin Kisner (64 on Friday), with Koepka, the reigning two-time U.S. Open champion, in third at 7 under. Schwartzel, the South African former Masters winner who opened the tournament with an even-par 70, had eight birdies and a bogey in his round and was tied for fourth.

The 63s were the 14th and 15th in PGA history.

Tiger Woods had moved up into a tie for 23rd place at 3 under with three birdies in his first seven holes. Rickie Fowler, second after the opening round (65), was 2 under for the day through 10 holes and in a tie for fourth with Schwartzel, Dustin Johnson (66) and Thomas Pieters (66).

The scores continued to be low as players made target practice of the large, soft greens. The PGA of America is tucking the pins close to the edges, but the golfers who are playing well are not having a tough time finding them.

At the par-5 17th, Woodland cut a 3-wood to a far right pin and stopped the ball at 5 feet to convert an eagle. The 34-year-old Kansas native didn't sink nearly as many long putts as he did on Thursday, but he still made four birdies while suffering only two bogeys.

With half the field still to post scores, Woodland said he wasn't worried with what might happen in the afternoon.

"I feel safe because I feel safe where my game is," he said. "I'm not too worried with what anyone else is doing out there. The golf course is gettable, I think. If you drive the golf ball in play, the greens were rolling a little bit better today, maybe a little bit quicker. So guys, I think we'll see some putts go in."For me, I'm very happy with where I'm at. I'm very comfortable with how I'm driving the golf ball. The iron game, the distance control this week has been phenomenal. And when I stand over a golf ball putting as comfortable as I am right now, I'm pretty excited."

Koepka, who opened the tournament with a 69, birdied his first three holes and made seven total without suffering a bogey. Finishing his round on the front nine, Koepka had a 22-foot birdie putt to set the tournament record, though he said he wasn't aware of that.

"I just was trying to make the thing and I really thought I made it," Koepka said. "My caddie said something, Rickie (Fowler) said something walking off on 18. I didn't even think of it. I've been so in the zone you don't know where you are or where you're at."

Also with a chance to get to 62, Schwartzel lamented that he didn't birdie the par-5 17th when he had a 25-foot birdie chance, but noted that he birdied the 237-yard, par-3 16th from 7 feet.

"In the practice rounds, I thought you've got a good chance of shooting a low score," Schwartzel said. "I was hitting a lot of drivers. If you're hitting it down in the fairway with the way the greens are designed, you can get the ball to about 15 feet on almost every hole. If you do that well, and, obviously, in there you're going to make those putts. But you just feel like you can have lots of chances around here."


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