Will Zalatoris tees off on the 10th hole in the first round of the PGA Championship on Thursday at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla. Photo by Kyle Rivas/UPI | License Photo
May 20 (UPI) — Will Zalatoris took a one-shot lead over Mito Pereira of Chile after Friday’s second round of the 2022 PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla.
Zalatoris, who managed to avoid the fierce Oklahoma wind that swept through the course during the morning hours, rattled off three straight birdies on the back nine and played bogey-free golf for a 5-under 65 on the second day of the tournament.
He entered the weekend at 9-under par — the lowest 36-hole score in eight majors at Southern Hills.
“We lucked out with the draw, for sure,” Zalatoris said of the gentler afternoon conditions. “I played the last eight holes with not much wind. But take it when you can get it.”
Pereira, meanwhile, missed a 7-foot putt on his final hole and settled for a 6-under 64 going into Saturday’s third round. He was at 8-under par after 36 holes.
Justin Thomas was two shots back of Pereira at 6-under 134 after following up his first-round 67 with another 67.
Bubba Watson missed a birdie putt from about 25 feet on the 18th hole, but he still delivered the 18th round of 63 in PGA Championship history. He entered the weekend at 5-under par for the tournament and alone in fourth.
Rory McIlroy, who was the 18-hole leader, shot a 71 and was tied for fifth at 4-under par. He was joined by Davis Riley (68) and Abraham Ancer (69).
Further down the leaderboard was Tiger Woods, who was able to make the cut after a first-round 74 left him in danger of missing the weekend.
The 15-time major champion fired a 1-under 69 in the second round Friday, which pushed him to 3-over par through 36 holes and above the cut line of 4-over.
Woods, who has been playing through right leg discomfort, had four birdies and one bogey on the eighth hole. He also had a double bogey on the par-3 11th.
“You can’t win the tournament if you miss the cut,” Woods said. “I’ve won tournaments — not major championships, but I’ve won tournaments on the cut number. There’s a reason why you fight hard and you’re able to give yourself a chance on the weekend.
“You just never know when you might get hot. This weekend I’m going to have to go low. It’s going to be different. The wind is going to be coming out of the north. It’s going to be cooler.”
Jordan Spieth, playing alongside Woods and McIlroy, finally got back to even par for the tournament until he drove into the water on the 18th for a bogey and a second-round 69. He was 10 shots behind in his bid to win the major keeping him from the career Grand Slam.
Dustin Johnson (73), Scottie Scheffler (75), Sergio Garcia (74) and Patrick Cantlay (75) were among those who missed the cut.
The third round of the 104th PGA Championship is set to begin at 8 a.m. EDT Saturday.
Justin Thomas plays the 16th hole in the second round during the PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla., on Friday. Photo by Kyle Rivas/UPI | License Photo