Viktor Hovland, who shared the 54-hole lead at St. Andrews last summer, shot a 67 to remain close to the lead. Hovland has now finished in the top 10 in his last 10 consecutive rounds in majors. Meanwhile, Conners shot a 68 but had to rely on his short game to account for some errant drives and tough holes on the front nine.
Impressive Turnarounds and Close Calls
Some players made impressive comebacks after difficult starts. Shane Lowry had six birdies in an eight-hole stretch in the rainy afternoon until closing with a pair of bogeys. He had to settle for a 67, leaving him in a large group at even-par 140, five shots behind but still very much in the thick of it. On the other hand, some players were simply happy to still be around for the weekend. Masters champion Jon Rahm, the No. 1 player in the world, opened with a 76 and was running out of holes, 1 shot over the cut of 5 over, when he ran off three straight birdies and salvaged a 68 to make the cut with 1 shot to spare.
Tight Leaderboard Heading into Weekend
The leading seven players, including Brooks Koepka, who shot 31 on the back nine in his round of 66, came from the same side of the draw. They were delayed by two hours from freezing temperatures and a coat of frost on the grass. They avoided the wind Friday morning, and then showers took some of the fire out of Oak Hill. The focus now shifts to the top, a mixture of major champions, players making their debuts in the PGA Championship, a PGA Tour rookie, and a club professional. All of them were within five shots of the lead. Bryson DeChambeau, who began the round in the lead, ended the day two shots behind after a rocky start.