Sun, Jul 31, 2016 - Page 12 News List

Streb fires 63 to share PGA lead

LOW SCORES:Baltusrol has surrendered the most 63s of any major course with four, including the 63s of Jack Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf in the US Open in 1980


Robert Streb of the US plays a shot from the fifth tee during the second round of the PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, New Jersey, on Friday.

Photo: AFP

Unheralded Robert Streb matched the record-low round in major golf history on Friday with an astonishing seven-under 63 to seize a share of the lead after the second round of the PGA Championship.

Top-ranked defending champion Jason Day’s amazing run of seven birdies in eight holes to grab a share of third place was overshadowed by a 29-year-old American on a rain-soaked Baltusrol layout soggy enough to surrender low scores in a wild afternoon of shot-making.

Back-nine starter Streb made a lone bogey and eight birdies, the last of them on a curling 21-foot putt at the par-three ninth to make history and match compatriot Jimmy Walker for the 36-hole lead at nine-under 131.

“I was pretty excited about it,” Streb said. “I was waiting on it to break, waiting on it to break and it finally turned there at the end. It was a great round. Happy to be part of that 63 club.”

Streb’s 63 was the 30th shot at a major, but he was the 28th player to achieve the feat, Fiji’s Vijay Singh and Australian Greg Norman having done it twice.

Open champion Henrik Stenson and runner-up Phil Mickelson each did it two weeks ago at Royal Troon.

Baltusrol has surrendered the most 63s of any major course with four, including two of only four in US Open history, the 63s of Jack Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf in the first round in 1980, as well as another by Thomas Bjorn at the 2005 PGA Championship.

Streb, whose lone PGA Tour victory came in the 2014 McGladrey Classic, has gone 27 PGA Tour events without a top-10 showing since placing 10th at last year’s PGA Championship, although he was fourth at this year’s Nedbank Challenge in South Africa on the European Tour.

Streb missed the cut in all three previous majors this year, but played the round of his life to put himself in contention for the title.

“The ball-striking and putting has been a little difficult this year,” he said. “Just been trying to hang on by a thread. Obviously, it’s coming together this week, which is nice.”

Australia’s Day fired a 65 to stand two strokes adrift on 133 along with Argentine rookie Emiliano Grillo, who shot a 67.

Day, who battled illness and fatigue in the first round, became annoyed at a double-bogey on the seventh hole and responded with short birdie putts at eight and nine, 18-foot birdie putts at 10 and 13 either side of a 10-footer at the par-three 12th.

Then came a stunning 37-footer at 14 and a five-footer on 15 for good measure, although he failed to take advantage of the par-five 17th and 18th or he might have shot 63, or better.

“That double-bogey kicked me in the bum a little bit,” Day said. “A little disappointed I didn’t birdie either of the par-fives, but I’m saving them for the weekend.”

Morning showers halted play for 41 minutes as groundskeepers cleared puddles from greens and standing water from fairways. Balls held on saturated greens and made up for the lack of fairway roll.

“It was much softer,” Walker said. “If you were in the fairway you could do anything you wanted with the golf ball.”

Sweden’s Stenson was alone in fifth after his second consecutive 67, with two-time major winner Martin Kaymer of Germany sharing sixth on 135 with Americans Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

Hideki Matsuyama of Japan eagled the second hole on his way to a 67 to share ninth place with Welshman Jamie Donaldson, and Americans Rickie Fowler and Harris English.

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