Kevin Kisner shot his second consecutive 4-under round of 67 on Thursday to build a four-shot lead after the morning wave in the second round of the 2017 PGA Championship at the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte.
The 5-foot-10 Kisner began his round on the back nine and worked his way around the expansive course with solid driving and excellent putting – when he needed a putter. Kisner opened with a birdie on the 10th hole and added one more on the 12th before dropping his lone shot of the day at the par-3 13th.
He regained the shot with a birdie on No. 15 and made his way through the infamous “Green Mile” – Nos. 16-18 – with three pars to make his turn in 2-under 24. The Charlotte-area native then recorded six consecutive pars before holing out for eagle on the par-5 7th hole. Kisner managed par on his final two holes to post an impressive 8-under score heading into the weekend.
“I’m hitting the ball really nice, and things are going my way, which obviously happens when you shoot 8-under around here for two days,” said Kisner. “I’m enjoying that.
“My bad shots are working out, my bad shots are working out, and I’m hitting a lot of putts. So it’s a lot of fun to play right now.”
Kisner’s 67 was two shots better than anyone else in the first wave, with Byeong Hun An (2-under for the tournament) and Jimmy Walker (8-over) posting 2-under rounds of 69 as the only other golfers to break 70 Thursday morning.
Rickie Fowler shot a 1-under 70 and enters the weekend five shots behind Kisner at 3-under for the tournament. Fowler worked his way through a very steady round. Also starting on the back nine, he erased a bogey on No. 12 with a birdie on the 14th. He birdied the par-3 17th hole and then closed his round with 10 consecutive pars.
Playing partner Rory McIlroy had a much more adventurous time in posting his second consecutive 1-over round of 70. He was 1-under for the round and even par for the tournament through 10 holes on Thursday, then bogeyed four of his next five holes to fall to 4-over and was teetering on the projected cut line.
McIlroy then reeled off consecutive birdies to get back to 2-over – and still feels good about his chances entering the weekend, depending on what Kisner does.
“Kiz is on fire right now,” said McIlroy. “Hopefully he slows down a little bit and gives the rest of us a chance. But I still feel like I’m right there going into the weekend.”
Kisner is chasing his first major title, but the 33-year-old has shown plenty of poise through the first two rounds. And despite the course’s length he’s comfortable at the Quail Hollow Club, where his in-laws are members.
“Oh, I’ll be plenty loose,” Kisner said about his thoughts entering the weekend. “I have a 3-year-old running all over me all day, so we’ll have plenty of fun. Just keep the other baby in. Five weeks left on that one and looking forward to it.”
NOTES: The cut line was at 4-over following the morning wave. … Phil Mickelson shot a 3-over round of 74 on Friday to miss the cut at 11-over. … Walker, the defending champion, also missed the cut at 8-over. … D.A. Points, 40, reached 4-under before carding consecutive double-bogeys on Nos. 16 and 17. He is at 1-under for the tournament.