Australians Jason Day and Matt Jones made their moves on a weather-shortened Friday at the PGA Championship, with Jones continuing it into Saturday morning as he took the lead at 11-under with a second-round 65.
Day is in second place at 9-under after his 67.
The 35-year-old Jones was great on the front nine and even better on the back, ringing up three birdies on the first half and four more on the back without a single bogey in sight. He shot an even-par 72 on Thursday, parring all 18 holes.
Jones has won PGA win to his credit, the 2014 Shell Houston Open. He’s rarely registered as even a blip on the radar at the Majors, with his tie for 30th last month at The Open Championship being his best to date. He’s made the cut twice at the PGA Championship, finishing tied for 40th in 2013 and tied for 46th last year.
Day bogeyed No. 18 or the lead would have been just one. The top 10 player bogeyed the last hole of each side of the course, otherwise he was 7-under.
Justin Rose holds down third place at 8-under following his 67, followed by a trio at 7-under: Sweden’s David Lingmerth, India’s Anirban Lahiri, and unlikely American contender Tony Finau.
A Tour rookie, Finau is of Tongan and American Samoan, descent, the first person of that ancestry on the PGA Tour. Just 1-under at the turn on Friday, he strung together three birdies on the back nine, then eagled No. 16.
World No. 2 Jordan Spieth moved into the competition with a 67 to reach 6-under, tying him for seventh. Day One leader Dustin Johnson cratered with a 1-over 73 to fall to 5-under.
The best round of the day, and the best in Major history belonged to Japan’s Hiroshi Iwata, who fired a 9-under 63 to explode into contention at 4-under following a 5-over 77 to start the tournament Two-under at the turn, Iwata strung together a back nine of: par, eagle, birdie, birdie, par, birdie, birdie, birdie, par, finishing the back nine 7-under with a 29.
World No. 1 Rory McIlroy shot his second straight 71 to sit at 2-under, while former No. 1 Tiger Woods missed the cut – again – with a 73 to finish 4-over.