CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The second round of the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow Club teed off at 7:20 a.m. Friday.
Hideki Matsuyama barely missed a birdie putt on the 18th hole that would have given him sole possession of the lead at the PGA Championship.
Instead, Matsuyama will have to settle for a share of the second-round lead at 8 under with Kevin Kisner after shooting 64 on Friday — the lowest round of the tournament so far.
Matsuyama had a bogey-free round that including seven birdies, five on the final seven holes. Two of those birdies came after he was forced off the course due to a 1 hour, 43 minute rain delay.
Matsuyama won the WGC Bridgestone Invitational last week after shooting a final-round 61.
The weather remained quiet until just before 5 p.m. Friday when play was suspended because of dangerous weather conditions in the area. People at the tournament were told to seek shelter.
PGA Championship officials announced around 5:30 p.m. that practice facilities were open and that all players had to be position and ready to resume play at 6:25 p.m. as the severe weather moved out.
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Fans heading to the course for the weekend will want to leave early as traffic is expected to be highly-congested heading into the final rounds of the tournament.
Traffic engineers have been working for weeks on plans to curtail the chaos, with traffic cameras and signal timing. Their PGA plan dissects nearly 30 intersections in south Charlotte.
Engineers also touch base with officers on the ground to keep traffic moving.
One option to avoid congestion is the light rail. Fans have been riding it to the Interstate 485/South Boulevard stop and then shuttling to the course.
But others are just parking in the lot, which is having a big impact on nearby businesses.
The lot quickly filled up Thursday and the manager of the Steak and Shake told Channel 9 almost half of his parking lot was occupied by golf fans.
Another store manager said he is putting up cones to save spaces for his customers.
Spectators and players were dealing with muggy conditions around the course, and it’s only going to ramp up as the weekend goes on, with heat index values close to 90 degrees by noon Friday.
Carolinas Healthcare System told Channel 9 they responded to a spike in heat-related incidents during the first round of the tournament Thursday, and it wasn't even that hot.
They treated more than 230 people and six had to go to the hospital.
With temperatures rising, heat-related incidents during the second round could be an even bigger problem.
Fans should dress in light layers and make sure they are drinking less alcohol and caffeinated beverages while taking in more water.
A glance at the first round of the PGA Championship
A brief look at the first round of the PGA Championship (all times EDT):
LEADING: Thorbjorn Olesen and Kevin Kisner, who both were at 4-under 67.
JUST BEHIND: Five players were a stroke back - Grayson Murray, Gary Woodland, Brooks Koepka, Chris Stroud and D.A. Points.
QUEST FOR THE SLAM: Jordan Spieth began his chase for the career Grand Slam with a 72 during which the accomplished putter didn't make one from longer than 5 feet.
SHOTS OF THE DAY: Both Olesen and Kisner closed their rounds by making long birdie putts on the par-4 18th, with Kisner holing a 20-footer and Olesen walking off with a 30-footer.
NOT A HAPPY 100TH: Phil Mickelson's 79 marked his worst round ever at a PGA Championship, while Ernie Els matched his worst score in the championship with an 80. Both are playing in their 100th major.
NOTEWORTHY: The course played to an average score of 74.7, making it look like the toughest test of this year's majors. The 506-yard, par-4 16th hole yielded the fewest birdies (six).
QUOTEWORTHY: "That's never fun to walk up and see somebody, you just drilled them. I drilled him in the head, which is probably the worst part. To be honest with you, I felt like crap." - Brooks Koepka, who hit a marshal with his drive on No. 16. A PGA of America official said the marshal was fine but went home for the day.
TELEVISION: Friday, 1-7 p.m. (TNT).
Spieth has ground to make up in quest for Grand Slam
Jordan Spieth only needs to win the PGA Championship to complete the career Grand Slam.
It just feels like he has to win another U.S. Open.
Quail Hollow presented a stern test in Thursday's opening round of the final major, primarily because of the firm, fast and frightening greens for which the U.S. Open is known. The result was the highest score to lead the first round of the PGA Championship in seven years, a 4-under 67 by Kevin Kisner and Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark.
Both made birdie on the 18th hole with lengthy putts that trickled - and trickled - into the cup.
"You need to be defensive on these greens - you have to," Spieth said after his 72 left him five shots behind. "I was defensive and still had to make 4- to 5-footers for par on a couple of them."
Spieth didn't make a putt longer than 5 feet - that was for par on his second hole. He still hit the ball so well that he grabbed two birdies late in the round that enabled him to keep the damage to a minimum. If he didn't make those birdies, he worried he might have shot himself out of the tournament.
"Given it's the first round, I know I'm still in it, but I know that tomorrow's round becomes that much more important," Spieth said. "If I'm five back at the start of the day, I've got to be less than five back after Friday to really feel like I can play the way this golf course needs to be played and still be able to win."
Spieth wasn't alone in his struggles.
Rory McIlroy, a two-time winner at Quail Hollow and the betting favorite to end his three-year drought in the majors, was cruising right along until a three-hole stretch on the back nine when two poor chips and one tee shot into the water cost him three shots. He also shot 72.
Rickie Fowler had six birdies, the kind of round that would put him in the lead - except for that triple bogey on the sixth hole.
For all the talk about this 7,600-yard course favoring the big hitters, the shortest club in the bag turned out to be just as valuable.
"Any time you have a putt down grain, downhill ... we just tap it and hope it stops by the hole," Jon Rahm said after a 70.
U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka led five players at 68. Koepka missed a half-dozen putts from 12 feet or closer, and while it looked as though he hit the ball well enough to go low at Quail Hollow, he wasn't the least bit frustrated.
"It's going to test your patience one way or another," Koepka said. "That's just a major. You've got to stay patient. You can't make doubles out here. That's the big thing. Make sure the worst score you make is a bogey and give yourself a couple of good chances on the easier holes."
That's the way Kisner approached it.
It helps that he grew up in the South and loves Bermuda greens. Given the size of Quail Hollow, Kisner drew up a simple plan. He identified four or five holes where he could make birdie, and he played for par everywhere else.
"I birdied them all today," Kisner said. "Make a lot of pars, and get to a par 5 or one of those short par 4s, I can do my wedge game and get it to 10 or 12 feet. That's my plan. Other than that, I'm playing for par."
The 18th was not one of the birdie holes he had in mind, especially with his ball nestled in the Bermuda rough 205 yards from the pin. Kisner thought the grass was thin enough behind the ball to get a 5-iron on it, and from there it was a matter of judging how much it would bounce. It ran up to the green about 20 feet away, and he used that rhythmic putting stroke to trickle it into the cup.
Olesen picked up birdies on most of the same holes, and he finished with a 30-foot birdie that also sounded like an accident.
"It was a little bit of a safe shot into the green," he said. "That's what can happen on this golf course. When you play safe into the greens, you give yourself very tricky putts, like the one I had - downhill, left-to-right. It was very, very fast. But it was just a very good roll. So it was nice to see that one drop."
Quail Hollow played to an average score of 74.7, making the PGA Championship look like the toughest test of the year in the majors. The PGA Championship typically features good scoring because it's held in August when water has to be kept on the greens to keep them from dying.
Just not this one.
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Stroud goes from 1st tour victory to 68 in PGA
Chris Stroud opened with a 68 in the PGA Championship, not bad for someone still walking around in a fog.
Four days ago, Stroud was in Nevada playing the final round of the Barracuda Championship and looking forward to a week at home in Houston with his family. Then he hit a 5-wood to 5 feet on the final hole and made eagle, got into a playoff and made birdie on the second extra hole to win for the first time on the PGA Tour.
That put him into the PGA Championship for the first time in three years, and he kept right on rolling.
"Now I've got a two-year exemption. I'm in Kapalua. Just working my way up," Stroud said. "Just going to keep living this foggy dream I'm in right now and ride it as long as I can."
Just getting to Quail Hollow was a rush.
He drove two hours to Sacramento, California, for an overnight flight to Atlanta, and then on to Charlotte. He was so tired he didn't wake up until late morning on Tuesday. His wife brought extra clothes from their home in Houston.
Stroud still found time to reply to what he estimated at 1,400 text messages, 55 voicemails and 100 emails.
If all that wasn't enough, Stroud's parents came to the PGA Championship to surprise him. They all had dinner Wednesday to celebrate his first PGA Tour victory.
And then he shot 68. In three previous appearances in the PGA, his best score was a 70.
RORY'S REGRET: Rory McIlroy is a two-time winner at Quail Hollow with only one finish outside the top 10 in seven appearances.
He wasn't playing quite the same course in the PGA Championship.
The new holes the club built - Nos. 1, 4 and 5 - were not the issue. It was the Bermuda grass lining the fairways and around the greens that made it far more difficult, not to mention putting surfaces that were firm and fast.
"Once you get yourself out of position, it's very difficult," he said. "It's tricky around the greens."
He found that out the hard way when his chip just left of the green at the par-3 13th raced some 15 feet by the hole, leading to a bogey. On the next hole, after hitting his 3-wood into the water on the reachable par 4, McIlroy still had a reasonable chance of saving par until he caught the chip heavy. When he missed a short putt, he walked off with a double bogey.
Then, he failed to birdie the par-5 15th from just short of the green after gouging a 5-wood out of the rough. He played that stretch in 3 over; he would have hoped to have played it in 1 or 2 under.
"If I just could have had that three-hole stretch back," he said. "But I think other than that, I played nicely. Did what I needed to do. Birdied the par 5s, birdied the holes that you should birdie. I'm just disappointed with that three-hole stretch, but I'm right in it. It wasn't very easy. It was tough to hole putts this afternoon."
TAKING HIS LUMPS: The Green Mile was tough on everyone - including a course marshal.
Brooks Koepka's drive on No. 16 sailed to the right and hit a marshal in the head in the morning session, leaving his face bloodied. Video posted on the PGA of America's Twitter feed showed Koepka checking on the marshal and signing a glove for him as he lay on the ground.
The man left the course for the remainder of the day, but PGA officials said he was fine.
"He just got drilled in the head," Koepka said. "I felt terrible about it. I mean, that's never fun to walk up and see somebody, you just drilled them. I drilled him in the head, which is probably the worst part. To be honest with you, I felt like crap."
Koepka said the marshal was laughing and joking about the ball bouncing off his head and back into the fairway.
"He kept telling me, "You got a good break." Koepka said. "I was like, well, still feel like crap. But yeah, I got his information so I'll probably reach out to him tonight and see how he's doing. I'm sure he's going to have quite a big headache."
ACE IN THE HOLE: The first hole-in-one at the PGA Championship belonged to Joost Luiten.
He aced the par-3 fourth on Thursday during the opening round. Luiten's tee shot on the 184-yard hole bounced once on the green before plunking into the cup.
ALL IN A NAME: Thorbjorn Olesen is tied for the first-round lead after a 4-under 67 at the PGA Championship. Or is he?
It turns out Thorbjorn isn't actually his first name. It's Jacob.
Olesen says that when he started school in Demark, there were three boys named Jacob in his class, so everyone started calling him by his middle name, Thorbjorn, to avoid confusion. The name stuck, and he's been known to the golf world as Thorbjorn Olesen ever since.
"I thought, why not, I'll still use it as a professional golfer," said Olesen, who has won four times in the European Tour but never on American soil. "I think it's only really my mom that calls me Jacob. But everybody else calls me Thorbjorn."
DUSTIN'S START: Dustin Johnson opened with a 70 and was three shots behind, which doesn't sound extraordinary for the No. 1 player in the world.
But it was a lot better than it had been for Johnson in the majors.
This was his best start in a major since the U.S. Open last year at Oakmont, which he went on to win for his first major. That was also the last time he broke par in the opening round. He had a 71 at Royal Troon, 77 at Baltusrol, 75 at Erin Hills and a 71 at Royal Birkdale.
"I felt like I played solid today," Johnson said. "Only a few shots back. In a major, a few shots can be one hole."
Not many know that better than Johnson.
DIVOTS: Andrew Johnston and Si Woo Kim withdrew after the opening round because of injury. Johnston shot a 78, while Kim had a 79. ... Only two players drove the green at the 354-yard 14th hole - Jordan Spieth and Brooks Koepka. Both made par. ... Sergio Garcia got a taste of Quail Hollow's "Green Mile," the toughest three-hole closing stretch in golf. The Masters champion made double bogeys on a pair of par-4 holes - Nos. 16 and 18 - sandwiched around a bogey on the par-3 17th. ... The hopes of a club pro making the cut might lie with Omar Uresti, a former PGA Tour player. He shot 74.
John Daly sings with Hootie, leaves PGA course broody
John Daly struggled on his final hole Thursday. Maybe he needed Hootie to hold his hand.
Daly went from contender to curmudgeon after a triple bogey on the 18th hole capped an eventful 24-hour period at the PGA Championship that included singing a Prince song onstage with Darius Rucker.
Daly tweeted videos taken Wednesday night of himself joining the Hootie & the Blowfish frontman-turned-country soloist to sing "Purple Rain" and other songs.
The good times kept rolling through Daly's 8:20 a.m. tee time - he was at even par through 17 holes with four birdies to balance four bogeys.
Then came the meltdown on 18 - the third of Quail Hollow's brutal "Green Mile" stretch of finishing holes. He missed the green at the 494-yard par 4 and hit two poor chips before three-putting from 11 feet to drop well off the pace.
Before that, he was headed for his best round at a PGA Championship since his 69 at Kiawah Island in 2012. He earned his lifetime exemption at this major championship by winning at Crooked Stick in 1991.
Daly left Quail Hollow without speaking to reporters but was heard telling his fiancée that he wanted to "get out of here," using a profanity to express his frustration with the course and heading straight for the parking lot.
The 51-year-old with the one-of-a-kind career certainly has a history of colorful episodes at majors.
He said in 1999 that he wouldn't return to the U.S. Open and had "had it with the USGA and the way they run their tournaments" after he swatted a moving ball with his putter on No. 8 in his final round at Pinehurst No. 2 , taking an 11 on the hole and signing for an 81.
He apologized two days later and returned the following year at Pebble Beach, where he made a 14 on the par-5 18th hole, withdrew after his opening-round 83, dumped three balls into the Pacific Ocean and hit another into a backyard adjacent to the fairway. "Get me to the airport, fast," he said upon leaving.
At the PGA Championship two years ago at Whistling Straits, he threw his 6-iron into Lake Michigan after hitting three tee shots into the water to the right of the par-3 seventh hole. He made a 10 on that hole, later explaining his actions during his walk to the parking lot by saying "it shows you care, that's all."
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