|-8 Li Haotong (Chn); -6 T Fleetwood (Eng) J Rose (Eng), J Day (Aus), B Koepka, D Berger, J Dahmen (all United States), M Lorenzo-Vera (Fra); -5 P Casey (Eng), C Champ (United States), B Todd (United States)|
|Selection of others: -4 D Johnson; -3 T Finau (United States); -2 B DeChambeau (United States), B Snedeker (United States), A Scott (Aus); -1 R McIlroy (NI) Level T Woods (United States)|
Tommy Fleetwood scored the lowest round of the 2020 PGA U.S. Championship to enter the contention ahead of the final two innings in San Francisco.
The Englishman, 29, shot an Under-64 player to sit two shots behind China’s Li Haotong, who took the lead with an Under-63 player at TPC Harding Park.
England’s Justin Rose is third with Fleetwood, Jason Day and defending champion Brooks Koepka after a 68.
The Frenchman Michael Lorenzo-Vera bogeyed the last to be also tied for second.
After carding a 67, compatriot Paul Casey is a shot further back with Brendon Todd, the overnight leader with Day, and Cameron Champ, who tied Fleetwood’s low score of 64.
Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods have both had mixed rounds but will make the cut, with McIlroy a sub after a 69 while Woods is tied after a 72.
The 102nd US PGA has been postponed from May due to the coronavirus pandemic and is being played without spectators.
The first beginners make things happen
Li said that before the championship, he told his younger brother that he wanted to enter without “any expectations.” Given its record this year, no wonder.
The 25-year-old has missed the cup at four of the eight events he’s played this year. His best result was a tie for 18th place at Oman from Oman and he was tied for 75th at WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational from last week, who saw it drop to 114 worldwide.
But starting with a three under 67, he ran out of the blocks on day two. Li claimed five birdies on his first 10 holes to take the lead, before seeing a lap without a bogey.
And that was despite hitting just four fairways. Maybe that’s why he was back at the practice pit a few hours after his round.
Tommy Fleetwood was another newbie who made a declaration of intent. After having to settle for the normal level on day one, the world number 13 made virtually every opportunity count.
The 29-year-old has won seven birdies to make a firm start in the league ahead of the weekend as he aims to become the second Englishman to win the US PGA.
A stunning 63 final by Fleetwood allowed Koepka to look over his shoulder as he finished second behind the American at the 2018 US Open and he was finalist of Irishman Shane Lowry during the last big one 13 months ago, the Open. Is it Fleetwood time?
“I’m not going to say I’m playing the best I’ve ever played, or I feel the liveliest I’ve ever felt,” he said. “But it’s a major championship and I just got a good score so I can’t be far.”
Told my cart no wait – what they said
Li Haotong: “I didn’t even think I could play like this this week, I didn’t have any confidence. I told my junior ‘no expectations.’ I wanted to play stress-free.
“That’s the key – to play golf and try to win. We still have two innings – a long way to go. I just want to play my best. If it happens, it happens.”
Tommy Fleetwood: “Yesterday I had a good score, then I had a few bad holes. But the normal level was not a bad score. I feel like my game is improving day by day, and today i hit a lot of good golf shots.
“With the wind, a medium shot actually becomes a good shot. I hit a lot of fairways and that makes it easier on this course.”