Brooks Koepka and Charl Schwartzel equalled the lowest score in tournament history as the 100th US PGA Championship turned into a shootout in St Louis.
Koepka missed from 20 feet for birdie on his final hole of the day to match the only 62 in men’s major championship history, recorded by Branden Grace in last year’s Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.
But a flawless 63 left the double US Open champion just two shots off the clubhouse lead held by fellow American Gary Woodland, whose 10-under-par halfway total of 130 established a tournament record, with Kevin Kisner on nine under.
Kisner also had the chance to shoot 62 after covering the back nine in 29 and picking up another birdie on the seventh, only to bogey the ninth, his final hole of the day.
Schwartzel had an outside chance to shoot 62 when he left himself a long birdie putt on the last, but the former Masters champion had to settle for a 63 to finish seven under.
“I played really well,” Koepka said. “I feel like yesterday I played really well too and sometimes you don’t really score very well. But today I drove it beautifully, my wedges distance control is very spot on and I was making those five, six-footers that you need to make.”
World number one Dustin Johnson is just three shots off the pace after carding five birdies in six holes on his way to a 66, with Open champion Francesco Molinari another two shots back after a 67.
England’s Matt Wallace had been tipped as a player to watch by compatriot Tommy Fleetwood and lived up to the billing with a 66 to finish three under and make his first halfway cut in a major.
“I wasn’t enjoying my golf, strangely. People might think you’ve won twice this year and should be loving it but it’s fickle this game. I felt like I was swinging it better and playing better but I was scoring worse,” said Wallace.
“It was difficult to get my head round why and I didn’t want to keep going in the same direction. It was important to catch it early and this is definitely what I needed.
Defending champion Justin Thomas tees off alongside Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods as the second round of the PGA Championship gets underway at 15:50 UAE time on Friday.
Here’s the groups and UAE tee times for the second round.
*OFF FIRST TEE
15:50: Daniel Balin, Chesson Hadley, Russell Henley
16:01: Marty Jertson, Luke List, Kevin Chappell
16:12: Jaysen Hansen, Nick Watney, Kyle Stanley
16:23: Ted Potter Jr., Emiliano Grillo, Jorge Campillo
16:34: Ryan Vermeer, Paul Broadhurst, John Daly
16: 45: Si Woo Kim, Brice Garnett, Tyrrell Hatton
16:56: Y.E. Yang, Jason Dufner, Shaun Micheel
17:07: Thorbjorn Olesen, Charl Schwartzel, Patrick Cantlay
17:18: Brendan Steele, Adrian Otaegui, Kevin Na
17:29: Chez Reavie, Charley Hoffman, Russell Knox
17:40: Zach J. Johnson, Michael Kim, Seungsu Han
17:51: Brian Smock, Anirban Lahiri, Mike Lorenzo-Vera
18:02: Ben Kern, Ryuko Tokimatsu
21:20: Jamie Lovemark, Rich Berberian Jr., Shugo Imahira
21:31: Brandt Snedeker, Sean McCarty, Haotong Li
21:42: Jim Furyk, Tony Finau, Xander Schauffele
21:53: Davis Love III, Martin Kaymer, Rich Beem
22:04: Rickie Fowler, Hideki Matsuyama, Ian Poulter
22:15: Henrik Stenson, Danny Willett, Pat Perez
22:26: Phil Mickelson, Jason Day, Keegan Bradley
22:37: Shubhankar Sharma, Jordan Smith, Scott Piercy
22:48: Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods
22:59: Matthew Fitzpatrick, Webb Simpson, Jhonattan Vegas
23:10: Stewart Cink, Branden Grace, Ryan Moore
23:21: Ross Fisher, Alexander Levy, Patton Kizzire
23:32: Julian Suri, Sungjae Im, Craig Bowden
*OFF NO. 10 TEE
15:55: Johan Kok, Brandon Stone, Whee Kim
16:06: Matt Wallace, Matt Dobyns, Beau Hossler
16:17: Chris Wood, Alex Noren, Matt Kuchar
16:28: Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, Adam Scott
16:39: Tommy Fleetwood, Satoshi Kodaira, Marc Leishman
16:50: Patrick Reed, Brooks Koepka, Francesco Molinari
16:01: Gary Woodland, Sergio Garcia, Kevin Kisner
17:12: Jordan Spieth, Jon Rahm, Justin Rose
17:23: Aaron Wise, Paul Casey, Zach Johnson
17:34: Louis Oosthuizen, Thomas Pieters, Bill Haas
17:45: Lee Westwood, Joaquin Niemann, Daniel Berger
17:56: Omar Uresti, Justin Harding, Andrew Landry
18:07: Matthew Borchert, Chris Stroud
21:15: Michael Block, Eddie Pepperell, Ryan Fox
21:26: Austin Cook, Craig Hocknull, Alexander Bjork
21:37: Yusaku Miyazato, Bob Sowards, Scott Brown
21:48: Rafa Cabrera Bello, Thomas Bjorn, James Hahn
21:59: Billy Horschel, Byeong Hun An, Shane Lowry
22:10: Brian Harman, Yuta Ikeda, Adam Hadwin
22:21: Padraig Harrington, Jimmy Walker, Vijay Singh
22:32: Bryson DeChambeau, Andy Sullivan, Kiradech Aphibarnrat
22:43: Ryan Armour, Cameron Smith, Peter Uihlein
22:54: Paul Dunne, J.B. Holmes, Dylan Frittelli
23:05: Charles Howell III, Jason Schmuhl, Brian Gay
23:16: David Muttitt, Ollie Schniederjans, Troy Merritt
23:27: Shawn Warren, Mikko Korhonen, J.J. Spaun
Justin Thomas is bidding to defend his PGA Championship title as the final major of the year gets underway in St Louis on Thursday
Ahead of the tournament, we take a look at three dark horses who could upset the odds.
Who do you think will win?
The American has been superb this season, with top-10 finishes in the three major events this year – T10 at Augusta, fifth at Shinnecock Hills and T9 at Carnoustie. In ten major tournaments, the Utah native has missed the cut twice, with one coming at the PGA Championship in 2016. His overall record in 2018 is rock solid, recording six top-10s and five top-25s in 18 starts, including second place at the Genesis Open. If he can gather some momentum, he could take over the fast greens with his powerful game.
Last five tournaments: 1-T13-MC-MC-T31
The two-time major winner has posted only one top-5 and one top-10 finish this season, including a win at the Travelers Championship. And although he has missed three cuts in six tournaments, his game could be a threat on the fast greens of Bellerive this weekend. At 39, the gritty Florida man still has buckets of playing ability in him and enters this weekend ranked 35th on scoring average.
Last five tournaments: T13-T26-T6-T35-T39
The Swede has not missed the cut since the Valspar Championship in March and enters the final major of the year first in greens in regulation percentage and second in driving accuracy percentage. The 42-year-old has top-10 finishes in two of the three majors in 2018. The only question is whether the world No17 can continue the momentum, or whether his heroics will catch up with him during a busy spell.