ROCHESTER: Australia’s Adam Scott answered an early challenge from countryman Jason Day and England’s Lee Westwood on Friday to seize command of the PGA Championship at rain-soaked Oak Hill.
Reigning Masters champion Scott, who in April became the first Aussie to win a green jacket, birdied three of his first seven holes in the second round and made the turn at seven under par for the tournament, two under for the day.
Day, Westwood and Germany’s Martin Kaymer were on four-under and the only players on the course within five strokes of Scott with half the field set for an afternoon start.
Westwood and Day, who have both endured several painful near-misses at majors, made early birdies to match Scott’s lead as he began by teeing off at the 10th hole in heavy showers.
But as his rivals faltered in the downpour that drenched the 7,163-yard layout, Scott responded with a chip-in birdie at the 10th and dropped a tricky double-breaking 10-foot birdie putt into the left side of the cup at the par-5 13th to reach seven-under.
Using the belly putter that will be banned come 2016, Scott calmly rollled in a four-foot birdie putt at the 16th to reach eight-under, three strokes clear of Westwood and Scott’s first-day co-leader, Jim Furyk, who was set for an afternoon start after matching Scott with an opening 65. Scott gave one back at the 17th, missing a four-foot par putt, and had to wait at the 18th tee for course workers to push standing water off the soggy, satured shooting area before missing a 15-foot birdie putt and settling for a par.
Westwood, also off the back nine first, birdied the 12th and 14th holes to keep the pressure upon Scott early, but took his first bogey of the tournament at the 17th and made another at the second to drop back.
Day, who opened on 67, birdied the 10th and 12th holes to match the lead on five-under just as Scott teed off alongside the year’s other major winners, US Open champion Justin Rose of England and US left-hander Phil Mickelson.