USPGA 2023: A trio in the lead, Perez dry


A second round at two speeds. Those who left in the morning benefited from dry…

USPGA 2023: A trio in the lead, Perez dry

USPGA 2023: A trio in the lead, Perez dry

A second round at two speeds. Those who left in the morning benefited from dry weather. This was the case of Justin Rose (70 this Friday), Patrick Cantlay (67), Hideki Matsuyama and Patrick Reed (71) or even Victor Perez (72). The Frenchman had stopped under par (-1) at 16 the day before. He committed a bogey at the end of his first lap at dawn and followed it up very quickly with a slightly more uneven second lap (four bogeys, two birdies) which secured him for the cut, his fourth in a Grand Slam, while by pushing it back a few places (+2). With a provisional 30th place, the results remain very satisfactory: “ The day was long, I got up at 4:00 a.m. to be on the course at 7:00 a.m. And I only had 45 minutes of beat between the two rounds. There was a lot more wind, especially across, and birdie opportunities were rare. Holes are really hard in these conditions, I think of the 6, for example. This is not a course that can be attacked and even less with the rain which is announced for Saturday “.

She even got a little ahead. When Bryson DeChambeau, Keegan Bradley and Jason Day showed up at the tee for one of the last games, at 2:30 p.m. local time, the umbrellas were out and the blowers to dry the greens too. Even if waterspouts did not fall immediately, the conditions were inevitably slowed down and the holes lengthened. And from 6:30 p.m. (12:30 a.m. in France), it really fell hard when there were 4-5 holes left to play.

Hovland, the Norwegian moment

Starting late too, Scottie Scheffler nevertheless investigated immediately (birdies at 1 and 2) to take the lead. Very precise with his small irons, magic at the start of the 15th to get “given”, the world No. 2 completed this lap in the lead (-5), despite two bogeys on the 7th and 18th: “ I did a good job and was able to stay on course to play two under par in such wet conditions, even though I didn’t hit as many fairways as I would have liked. “.

Starting from 10, Corey Conners first caught up with him then supplanted (-6 to 11) before finishing alongside him. Already twice a winner on the PGA Tour (Valero Texas Open in 2019 and last February), the Canadian has already signed three Top 10 in Major, at the Masters (2020, 21, 22). He has plenty to do at least as well on this USPGA: “ In the wind and the rain, I was solid. I feel a lot of confidence and I have gained experience “.

Huge in the long game, whether with the driver or the irons, Viktor Hovland remained behind this duo all day. He finally joined him at 18. The Norwegian (25) has never won a Major, in particular because of sometimes fragile putting, but he has been around for a while now (4th in the British 2022, 7th in the last Masters): “ I had a good day. It’s good to be in that mid-position but there’s still a lot of golf to go. I have to keep playing the middle of the green and hope that this time the piece will fall on the right side “.

Justin Thomas: “I spoke like a thug”

Bryson DeChambeau got a little far from the lead because of a choppy first leg (+3) but he finished well, until the 18th at least, where he signed a last bogey (-3). He finds himself alongside Justin Suh. If Brooks Koepka revived perfectly (-2), tying the best card of the week (66), and if Rory McIlroy finished cleanly (-3 on the return, by total) after two trips in the water ( 6 and 7), many players struggled. Dustin Johnson toasted all the profit from his initial round (+4 on Friday) and other big names almost stayed on the couch this weekend. Apart from the cut at the exit of the 12th, after a spectator hampered him when arming his drive, Jon Rahm knew how to control his nerves to finish well (-2 on the last six holes) and lock his place among the 76 survivors (+4).

The scares were even greater for Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth, decidedly inseparable friends. The defending champion saved his cut by returning a two-meter putt on the 18th, synonymous with sufficient bogey after getting stuck in a bunker on his second shot: “ It was a chore, a fight. I was so frustrated that I let it all hang out on the 7th green. I can’t remember what I said but I sounded like a thug. Behind, I regained calm before this stupidity at 18. But as Tiger (Woods) has always said, you have to give yourself a chance in golf and see what can happen. We’ll see if we can do something crazy this weekend “. The Texan, out of the nails after the 14th, also had to return an unobvious putt on the 18th to extend the adventure on the only Major he has not yet won (2nd in 2015, 3rd in 2019).

Among the main eliminated are Sungjae Im (+13), Cameron Young (+9), Jason Day (+8), Matt Kuchar (+7), Rickie Fowler, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Billy Horschel (+6).

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