SHEBOYGAN, Wis. - Day 2 of the PGA Championship began with Hiroshi Iwata, an obscure pro from Japan, ripping through Whistling Straits and ended with a fierce storm doing the same. The whole thing reinforced what Dustin Johnson said the other day: "It's hard to win majors," because there are so many variables.
Who would have imagined that Iwata would shoot 63 Friday, tying the best score ever in a major and flirting with 62 on a 30-yard pitch on No. 18 that buzzed the hole? And no one predicted the intensity of the thunderstorm that soaked the course and suspended play at 5:28 p.m. local time. When the second round resumes at 7 this morning -- before round three starts later -- Australians Jason Day and Matt Jones will be tied for the lead at 9 under par (although Day will have a putt for birdie on 15 while Jones will be in a bunker) and almost nothing is certain.
"Yeah, there was trouble lurking there for a second, and then right around the 15th, the horn blew and I was kind of glad that we're in," said Day, who was 5 under through 14 holes before the weather erupted. "Obviously it's a mess out there."
Even before the wind and rain began, it was a mess for Johnson, the first-round leader, who went 1 over through 14 holes and fell into a tie for 12th. "Hopefully, it will help me out," he said of the suspension. "I still feel like I'm swinging well, just the driver was just a little bit off. So I missed a couple fairways. And on this golf course, if you are not driving it in the fairways, it's tough."
Jordan Spieth was not thrilled with his driving, either, but shot 5-under 67 and moved into contention at 6 under. His presence could make the weekend interesting.
Tiger Woods, on the other hand, might be absent. Despite making birdies on two of his first three holes, he left the course after 13 holes at 4 over, meaning he probably will have to go 2 under through his final five holes to avoid missing the cut for a third consecutive major.
Scoring was not so difficult, at least not in the morning, when Iwata played. He shot 29 on the back nine and was on such a roll that, he said through an interpreter, "After No. 13, I was thinking that I'm going to shoot 27."
He is the 25th golfer ever to shoot 63 in a major, and is at 4 under for the tournament a day after a discouraging opening 77. "When I came here, I was thinking to just make my golf better and better, and on Sunday probably I can be in the top 10."
Dozens of players are capable of shooting low numbers, which makes the trail to winning a major so daunting. Yesterday featured quite a variety of golfers.
There was Jones, a PGA Tour pro from Australia who was joined in the field this week by his brother Brett, a New Jersey club pro who missed the cut.
One shot behind the leaders is 2013 U.S. Open winner Justin Rose. David Lingmerth, champion of the Memorial Tournament, finished at 7 under and is tied with Harris English and Tony Finau, all still in mid-round. The latter can be said to be trying literally to win one for the Gipper. He has a tour pro brother by that name.
"There's nothing to overthink," said Finau, a Utah resident who has a Wisconsin connection in that his cousin Jabari Parker plays for the Milwaukee Bucks. "I'm hitting it pretty nice and the putter feels good in my hands. So, I'll look forward to getting back out and finishing up."