Date: August 15, 2015
Author: Mark Hayes

Day, Jones skip clear at weather-hit PGA

High wind and lightning brought a premature end to day two of the US PGA Championship – and might have saved the field from a pair of runaway Aussies.

Jason Day and Matt Jones share the lead at nine under after each played near flawless golf at Whistling Straits, Wisconsin.

And unluckily for both, the weather came just as they seemed to be hitting the height of their powers.

Day will resume with a 5m birdie putt on the tough 15th hole when play resumes on day three.

Jones, on the other side of the course, is playing the fourth hole – his 13th – with both five under for their rounds, one stroke clear of England’s Justin Rose.

But after much of the round had been played with a crowded leaderboard, the Aussies had clicked into top gear with some breathtaking irons setting up repeated chances.

In fact, so crisp was their approach work that had several missed birdie opportunities dropped for the Aussie pair, they could easily have put a bigger gap into the field.

But as it stands, a string of big names are already out of contention, with major champions Tiger Woods, Graeme McDowell, Zach Johnson and Padraig Harrington all on the wrong side of what looks certain to be a two over cut line.

But in bad news for Australia, that list also includes Adam Scott, whose 75 today sent him crashing to seven over and his first missed cut at a major since 2011.

John Senden will also miss the weekend action after an uncharacteristic 76 from the Queenslander including a double-bogey six on his final hole – the ninth – that sent him back to three over.

Marc Leishman made huge inroads after his disastrous 79 yesterday, but even a fine second-round 68 wasn’t enough as he, too, finished at three over.

Other Aussies to miss the cut are Brett Jones (78 for +9) on major debut and Steve Bowditch (75 for +5), while Geoff Ogilvy will need a miracle when he returns at four over playing the 18th.

But in more great news for Australian golf, rising star Cam Smith will play on after a ripping 68 in just his sixth major championship round.

Smith stunned the world when he finished T4 at the US Open in June and showed that was no flash in the pan with today’s round who moved up 43 places from two over to two under today.

Among other key moves today, mercurial Japanese star Hiroshi Iwata equalled the major championship record with a stunning 63 to jump from five over to four under on the back of an eagle and eight birdies.

World No.1 Rory McIlroy chipped in for eagle on the second hole en route to a second consecutive 71 to finish two under.

But he’s chasing not only the Aussie leaders, but also playing partner and world No.1 Jordan Spieth who chipped in on the 18th – his ninth hole – to spark a string of birdies and a 67 that vaulted him to six under overall.

Rose is also five under for his round with one hole to play, while young American Tony Finau is already six under today – and-7 overall – through 13 holes.

The second round will resume at 10pm AEST tonight with third round to follow.