2024 PGA Championship - Round Two
Credit: Getty Images

Xander Schauffele finds himself in the same position he was in 28 hours earlier – the leader of the PGA Championship. Only this time, after the second round at Valhalla, his lead is a little tighter and he has eminently more company.

The World No. 3, searching for his first major victory, followed a PGA Championship record 62 with a 3-under 68 Friday to take a one-shot lead over 2020 PGA Champion Collin Morikawa into the weekend. Schauffele has collected 12 top-10s in majors to this point in his career, without yet getting over the hump. Six of those finishes were in the top five.

“I think as soon as 62 was posted there's just blood in the water,” Schauffele said. “I feel like everyone – if it was roles were reversed, it's sort of like everyone sort of feels they can shoot low now. That's just kind of how it goes out here. So, yeah, I think it definitely helps to keep the head down, at least for now. It's only two rounds.”

Schauffele actually trailed Morikawa by three shots when he teed off, but it was down to two shots when Morikawa bogeyed his last hole in the morning wave to shoot 65. He was the leader in the clubhouse at 11-under-par total.

But Schauffele steadily plodded his way through the first 10 holes in 4 under with four birdies, draining one from 38 feet on the third hole and from 16 feet on the ninth. That handed him a two-shot lead.

A bogey on the 11th – his lone bogey in two days – cut Schauffele’s advantage in half before he parred the next seven consecutive holes to shoot 68 and end at 12-under after 36 holes. World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler is lurking at 9 under par after shooting a second-round 66. He’s looking for his second consecutive major title and third straight victory.

“I just hung tough,” Schauffele said. “I felt like I just tried to hit as many good shots after good shots as possible. I felt like I was able to do that, and despite the mud and the delay and all those things, I felt like I really just got in my zone there and made a lot of good swings. So I'm proud of that.”

Scheffler clearly has been the best player in the world, but Schauffele has been on a short list of those who could say they’re next in line. In 11 events this year on the PGA Tour, Schauffele only has one finished outside the top 25, with five of those ending inside the top five.

The closest calls for the seven-time tour winner this year have come at The American Express, where he finished two shots back, at The Players Championship, where he ended one behind Scheffler and last week at the Wells Fargo Championship where he held a big lead during the final round but got tracked down by Rory McIlroy, who shot 65 with a double bogey on the 72nd hole.

“When you haven't won a golf tournament in a few years, you have to be pretty resilient,” Schauffele said. “I'm just patient and trying to play the best golf I can and stay out of my own way. I know I'm playing really good golf right now and all can I could do is focus on my process and my talk with [caddie] Austin [Kaiser], and that's about it.

Check out the leaderboard from the 106th PGA Championship here

Latest News