Not many golfers have done what Robert Streb did Friday at Baltusrol Golf Club.
Streb tied a major championship record with a 63 -- becoming the 28th player to do so -- and is tied for the second-round lead with Jimmy Walker at the PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club.
Streb and first-round leader Walker (who shot a 4-under 66) are tied at 9-under par for the tournament. Lurking two strokes behind are defending champion Jason Day, who shot a 65, and Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo (67). Alone in fourth place and three back is British Open winner Henrik Stenson, whose 3-under 67 was his sixth consecutive round in the 60s.
But the day belonged to Streb, a 29-year-old Oklahoman who has been mired in a year-long slump since he finished tied for 10th at the 2015 PGA Championship. That was his most recent top-10 and he has made the cut in just 14 of 23 tournaments this season.
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“I’ve been struggling with my low expectations and playing poorly,” said Streb. “So that’s been tough. I’ve been hanging on by a thread.”
Streb had help from his putter Friday, rolling in birdies on three of his final four holes. When he sank a 21-footer on the remote ninth (his final of the day), the small gallery surrounding the green erupted in cheers, knowing the putt was for a 63.
“It was pretty noisy for the 15 people who were out there,” said Streb. “They obviously knew what was going on. They made a little racket when it went in.”
▪ Best moment of the day came after Day hit an approach shot from next to the hospitality suites on the 17th fairway. As Day walked after his shot, an excited youngster ran up to him and slapped his hand in congratulations. After initially looking startled, Day smiled and kept walking.
▪ An utterly forgettable tournament came to a quick end for U.S. Open champion Dustin Johnson, who went 77-72 and missed the cut. Johnson, a Columbia native who played at Coastal Carolina, managed just one birdie (on the 16th Friday) and had two double bogeys Thursday.
“I just didn’t really do anything that well this week,” Johnson said. “I didn’t drive it that well, I wasn’t hitting my irons that great, I didn’t putt it great. This is a tough golf course and you’re not spot-on then it makes it difficult.”
Johnson said he’ll take a week off before practicing again and getting ready for the Olympics.
▪ Phil Mickelson opened his round by driving his ball onto Shunpike Road, which parallels the left side of the first fairway. His third shot (after a penalty) bounced along a cart path on the right side. His fourth landed in a yard of a house behind the first green. That all led to a triple-bogey 7 and Mickelson’s day was off to a horrible start. He rallied some, going 3 under the rest of the way for an even-par 70, barely making the cut at 1 over for the tournament.
▪ Jordan Spieth faced a complicated situation when his ball landed in a puddle (casual water) on a cart path on the seventh hole. Finally, after about 10 minutes and with the aid of rules official Brad Gregory, Spieth was allowed full relief to drop his ball and hit away. Spieth made the shot with his toe still slightly in the water, which wasn’t full relief. But Gregory approved of the stance.
“I would have never hit if I was not told it was OK by the rules official,” said Spieth, who finished with a 67 and is 3 under for the tournament. “He told me it was fine.”
▪ Gastonia’s Harold Varner III missed the cut after a second consecutive 72 left him 4 over for the tournament ... Rory McIlroy’s 69 was an improvement on his opening round 74, but it wasn’t enough to keep him from missing the cut at 3 over ... The hole location sheet given the first group of the day off the 10th tee (Colt Knost, Joe Summerhays and Yuta Ikeda) listed the hole as being on the left side of the 10th green when it was actually on the right. The sheet was corrected for other groups and PGA chief championships officer Kerry Haigh apologized to Knost, Summerhays and Ikeda.
They said it
“They are troopers. They come out here and are ready to go.” -- Patrick Reed, on the fans who arrived early Friday in the rain.
“I like the variation of people shouting, of like little kids, up to like, grown men, grown women. It’s just great, man.” British golfer Andrew “Beef” Johnston, who is getting a lot of attention this week and has become a fan favorite.
“I think in the history of the PGA Championship, that’s the worst start of any player’s round. I’d have to look that up.” -- Mickelson.
High of 82; 60 percent chance of rain.