PGA Championship - Round Two
Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Haotong Li played the front nine in 4-under par 31 in the 2nd round of the PGA Championship

A new leader has emerged early in the second round, and it’s probably not the name most would expect. Starting off on the easier front side, Haotong Li went on a four-birdie blitz to make the turn in 31, the best front-nine score of the week so far. After making the turn at 7-under, Li drove the par-5 10th in two. A two-putt for birdie pushed him to 8-under, extending his lead to two ahead of first-round leader Brendon Todd and three ahead of Jason Day, who tees off this afternoon. With five birdies and no bogeys through 10 holes, Li, who shot 67 Thursday, is leading the charge among the early morning wave.

He made threes on four par 4s on the front: 1, 2, 5 and 9. He stuck his opening approach shot to three feet on the first green, followed by made 20-footers on Nos. 2 and 5. The 25-year-old from China hit his shot of the day so far on the difficult 9th, gouging it out of the rough, rolling the ball to within 12 feet on one of the hardest holes on the course. He then sank the putt for an unlikely birdie.

Li, ranked 114th in the world, has never won in 37 career starts on the PGA Tour. At his most recent appearance at a major, he withdrew from the 2018 PGA Championship after an opening-round 71. His best major finish is a third-place showing at the 2017 Open Championship. Li was last in the spotlight during the 2019 Presidents Cup, where he went 0-2 in a minor role, losing to Dustin Johnson in singles during America’s comeback win.

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