|Adam Scott of Australia in action, at Rochester, on Friday
Rochester: Masters champion Adam Scott and US Open winner Justin Rose brightened up a dreary day with an early second round duel at the top of the PGA Championship leaderboard, here, on Friday.
Scott, the joint overnight leader alongside American Jim Furyk, fired a two-under 68 to grab a one-shot clubhouse lead over a hard-charging Rose, who staged a spectacular back nine rally to return a four-under 66.
The morning wave was greeted at stately Oak Hill Country Club by dark skies and pounding rain which toughened the playing conditions but left the challenging East Course more receptive to low scoring.
Scott teed off on the back nine and picked up a birdie on his opening hole and another at the par-five 13th after rolling in a slippery 15-footer.
The Australian notched his third birdie at 16 but then missed a five-foot par putt at 17 for a bogey that moved him to two-under at the turn.
As the rain continued, Scott slogged his way to the finish with two birdies offset by two bogeys but good enough to leave him alone with the clubhouse lead.
Rose, playing in the same group with Scott, gave chase after the turn with a flawless display that included six birdies over his final nine holes. Robert Garrigus and Furyk were among the afternoon starters sitting two off the pace on five-under.
American Webb Simpson made a dramatic charge in the drizzle by rocketing up the leaderboard with a six-under-par 64 that equalled the course record.
On seven-under with three to play, Simpson had looked poised to pen a bit of golf history and become the first player to card a 62 at one of golf's four majors.
But his flirtation with the record books ended at the seventh hole where he picked up his only bogey of day.
Germany’s Martin Kaymer, a former world number one and the 2010 PGA Champion, joined Simpson on four-under after returning a second consecutive 68.
Defending champion Rory McIlroy (71), eager to turn his game around after a poor season by his standards, looked headed for an early exit. The Northern Irishman’s play was as gloomy as the early weather until he roared back with four birdies over his final seven holes to move comfortably above the projected cutline.
Meanwhile, Woody Austin couldn’t decide whether he should keep his 3-iron or go with a hybrid for the second round. He accidentally went with both, which cost him four shots and likely the chance to play this weekend. Austin was assessed a four-stroke penalty Friday when he discovered he had 15 clubs in the bag. His 71 became a 75 and put him at 4-over 144.
“Can’t say I was angry because it was more of a shock, so you’re like pretty bummed,” Austin said. “I think after 20 years, you do one stupid thing of each, and that’s the first time I’ve ever done something like that. Now all I’ve got to do is figure out how to get DQ’d.”
Rule 4-4 allows for only 14 clubs. The penalty is two shots for each hole the extra club is in the bag with a maximum of four shots. (agencies)