The morning wind took its toll as Anirban Lahiri hit a second straight three-over 73 to miss the cut at the PGA Championship, his first Major appearance in just under three years.
Lahiri’s woes were mainly with his putter as he missed three putts inside eight feet and another five between 10-15 feet. That the morning wind went up to 30km per hour did not help either as the wind was almost absent in the afternoon.
Will Zalatoris, a 25 year old from Dallas, leads as he added 65 to his first round 66 and was nine-under, the third-best opening 36-hole score in PGA Championship history. Zalatoris is playing his eighth major, and he already has four top 10s.
So, a week that began with the arrival of his second child, a son Avyaan, and a surprise practice round with Tiger Woods, ended early for Lahiri.
There was, however, a moment of excitement for Lahiri as his tee shot on the Par-3 sixth came within six inches for a near hole-in-one.
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Lahiri, needing a solid under par second round, opened with a bogey and added one more on third. A birdie on sixth was followed by another bogey on ninth.
The back nine saw him start with a birdie on 10th but bogeys on 10th and 16th meant an early departure.
Meanwhile, Woods, despite pain and discomfort, made his second straight Major cut after the car crash 15 months ago. Woods followed his first round 74 with a second round 69, a superb effort in itself, to make the cut at T-53.
It was Woods’ 18th cut in 22 starts at the PGA Championship. Woods is 12 shots behind the 25-year-old Dallas golfer Zalatoris. It seemed all over for Woods as he double bogeyed on the par-3 11th. But he fought back, saving par from a bunker on No. 12, hit wedge to 4 feet for birdie on the par-5 13th.
He saved another with a 15-footer on the next hole and hit his best shot on the 16th to 4 feet. Chilean Mito Pereira (68-64) was second, while Justin Thomas with a re-done swing is 6-under with a pair of 67s.
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The day belonged to Bubba Watson (63) as he zoomed up to fourth with rounds of 72-63.
He equalled the PGA Championship scoring record with a 7-under 63, becoming the third player to do so at Southern Hills after Raymond Floyd (in 1982) and Tiger Woods in 2007).
Watson had never scored better than 68 in his previous 49 rounds in the PGA Championship. Now he has a chance over the weekend.
Scottie Scheffler became only the third World No. 1 to miss the cut at the PGA Championship, while the first round leader Rory McIlroy (65-71) trails by five shots following a 1-over 71.
The afternoon saw the wind die down and Zalatoris benefitted from it and so did Bubba Watson, who had a shot at the first 62 in PGA Championship history.
He missed from just inside 25 feet on the 18th hole and had to settle for the 18th round of 63 in this major, and the third at Southern Hills. He joined Woods (2007) and Raymond Floyd (1982).
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Like Watson, Chile’s Pereira also had a chance of a record at 63 but missed a putt from seven feet on the ninth hole to close his round.
In the morning when the wind was raging, Justin Thomas dropped only one shot on his way to another 67 that set a daunting target for everyone else in the afternoon.
McIlroy got the good side of the draw but failed to capitalise on it. He did not make a birdie until the 13th hole and it his only one in a round of 71 that left him five shots behind.
Jordan Spieth, playing alongside McIlroy and Woods, finally got back to even par for the tournament until driving into the water on the 18th for a bogey and a 69.
He was 10 shots behind and needs to win the PGA Championship to complete a career Grand Slam.