Herbert heads Aussies on dramatic day at the PGA - PGA of Australia

Herbert heads Aussies on dramatic day at the PGA

On a rainy and dramatic second day of the PGA Championship which included delays, a tragic accident, an arrest and failure to complete the second round, Lucas Herbert emerged as Australia’s No.1 contender for the weekend.

Herbert shot a 67 in the second round to move to 6-under and in a share of 16th place, six shots behind leader Xander Schauffele.

Play was delayed early Friday at Valhalla Golf Club after a fatal road accident, which caused world No.1 Scottie Scheffler to be arrested after attempting to bypass the built-up traffic to enter the club. The American returned in time for his tee time to shoot a composed 66 and sit three back of Schauffele’s 12-under mark.

Three shots back of Scheffler, Herbert is two ahead of Cam Smith, Jason Day and Min Woo Lee in a tie for 29th. The trio at 4-under are the only other Australians who will make the halfway cut which will likely fall at 1-under when 18 players complete the second round Saturday.

Kiwi Ryan Fox will also play the weekend through his 2-under tournament total, while Adam Scott (3-over), Cam Davis (7-over) and Kazuma Kobori (8-over) will have a couple of days off.

Herbert’s climb up the leaderboard came primarily on Valhalla’s front nine, with the Victorian’s birdie at the fourth immediately given back with bogey at the next, before a hat-trick of birdies saw him turn in 3-under.

Taking on the par-5 seventh in two, Hebert got up-and-down for birdie, followed by a beautiful iron from the tee of the par-3 eighth settled to nine feet. The 28-year-old’s approach at the next finishing at almost the same distance.

“I felt like I got off to a solid start through the front nine. Obviously, a good finish there with birdie in the last three holes,” Herbert said.

“Sort of put me in some good momentum for the back nine where you weren’t really scrambling to make cut anymore.”

Some handy scrambling saved pars early in the back nine, before Herbert delivered his fifth birdie of the day for a 4-under round at the par-5 18th when his eagle try from 17 feet failed to drop.

“Scrambled really nicely, holed out really nicely from sort of three to eight feet again. So yeah, that’s given me the opportunity to be in the position I’m in now,” he said.

”Hopefully we can build into some contention on the weekend.”

Of the three at 4-under, it was Lee who provided the most excitement having opened the tournament with a 1-over 72, and in danger of missing the cut.

Starting on the 10th, Lee made an opening birdie before recording three chip-ins during a 5-under-par round of 66.

The first from long of the 12th green, with Lee’s best coming at the 16th from the long rough left of the green. His fortune, and skill, continuing on the front nine when holing out again from the fairway of the par-3 third.

“It is a weird one. The last couple weeks I haven’t chipped as good as I normally do,” Lee said.

“Normally I would have a chip-in around a tournament and I would chip it on a decent lie, I would probably nearly close to hole it or be around the hole, but the last couple weeks it’s been pretty average.

“It’s nice for the confidence to hole three of them and they weren’t easy ones. Sixteen was pretty special. It was in deep rough into the grain and I was just trying to get it on the green to close and it ended up going in.”

Noting a need for his iron play to improve over the weekend, Lee added three more birdies to his chip-in holes, while it was a more up-and-down day for Smith, who recovered from an opening bogey to shoot 1-under 70.

Mixing three birdies against the same number of bogeys through 13 holes, it was a second consecutive birdie at the 18th that took Smith under par for the day, but eight shots adrift of Schauffele.

For Day, things appeared promising as he made the turn in 3-under after opening his second round with a birdie at the 582 yard par-5 10th.

Making a third par-5 birdie of the round at the seventh, Day dropped his first shot at the par-3 eighth before getting it back at the ninth for a 4-under 67.

Fox was another to make birdie at the 10th to get his round started in the best way possible, before dropping that shot at 11 with two birdies at 17 and 18 creating some momentum for a back nine that included birdies at four and seven for a 3-under 68.

Finally registering a first birdie for the tournament at the 10th, Scott made another on 15, but it was too little too late for the major champion who was unable to convert birdie chances at 16, 17 and 18 too draw closer to the cutline.

After a horror opening day, Davis fought back admirably and improved his score by seven shots in an even par 71 that included five birdies, while Challenger PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit winner Kobori ended his major championship debut with a birdie at the 18th.

The PGA Championship is live on Fox Sports, available on Foxtel and Kayo.

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