10 things to know from day two of the 2020 PGA Championship
1. After carding a tournament-best one bogey through 36 holes, Haotong Li is the first man from China to ever lead after any major championship round. His 36-hole score of 8-under is a whopping seven strokes lower than his previous 36-hole best in a major. Ranked 114th in the world this week, Li is the first player to lead a major outright ranked outside the top-100 since Ricky Barnes at the 2009 U.S. Open.
2. Li has a long way to go to bring China it’s first men’s major championship title: since 2010, only 30.1% of players to lead by two strokes at the halfway point have gone on to win on the PGA and European Tours. Li shot 65 Friday despite hitting only four fairways – it ties the lowest round of any player in the majors since 2000 while hitting four fairways or fewer.
3. In his bid for a PGA Championship ‘three-peat,’ Brooks Koepka enters the weekend tied for second place. When Peter Thomson won his third Open Championship in a row in 1956 (the last time a player won the same men’s major three straight years), he held a one-stroke lead through 36 holes. This is the sixth time Koepka has been in the top-three entering the weekend of a major; he went on to win three of the previous five instances.
4. Koepka is now a combined 76-under-par in major championships since the beginning of 2016, 52 shots better than any other player in that span. Jordan Spieth (-24 in majors since 2016) is the only player within 60 strokes of Brooks during this incredible run.
5. A pair of highly-accomplished Englishmen are tied for second, as well. Tommy Fleetwood shot 64 on Friday, his third career major championship round with seven or more birdies. Justin Rose is also two shots back, buoyed by an exceptional 11-for-13 scrambling so far this week. The only Englishman to win the PGA Championship was Jim Barnes, who did it in 1916 and 1919.
6. Jason Day has put on an approach play display through two rounds, leading the field in strokes gained approach. That’s a bit surprising, considering Day entered the week ranked 117th on the PGA Tour this season in that statistic. Day now has 23 rounds in the 60s in the PGA Championship since 2010, the most of any player.
7. TPC Harding Park has featured difficult fairways to hit through 36 holes. The field has hit just 50.8% of them through two rounds, on pace for the lowest percentage in a PGA Championship since 2008 at Oakland Hills, when the field hit less than 49% for the tournament. Forty different players hit five fairways or fewer in Friday’s round.
8. Justin Thomas made the cut on the number to keep an unbelievable streak alive at the PGA Championship. Since the Official World Golf Ranking was formed in 1986, the only reigning number one player to miss the cut at the PGA is Seve Ballesteros in 1986.
9. Looking to pick a winner this weekend? The potential list may be shorter than you think: 24 of the previous 25 major champions were in the top-ten entering the weekend. Each of the last ten PGA Championship winners were at or within 5 strokes after 36 holes.
10. Tiger Woods struggled with his much-talked-about putter on Friday, ranking 131st in the field in strokes gained putting. After making more than 114 feet worth of putts in round one, Woods made just 48 feet of them on Friday. Still, his second round 72 was enough to get him to the weekend, just his second made cut in this championship since 2014.