Former Kansas golfer Gary Woodland followed up a great start with a round good enough to get him in the record book Friday at the PGA Championship.
Woodland had no choice but to play well to stay ahead of Kevin Kisner and everyone else.
On a day of record scoring, the 34-year-old Woodland — he played at KU from 2003-07 — had a 4-under 66 and set the PGA Championship record with a 36-hole score of 130. That was only good for a 1-shot lead over Kisner, who had a chance at the PGA Championship scoring record until a bogey on his last hole for a 64.
“I’m not too worried with what anyone else is doing out there,” Woodland said. “The golf course is gettable, I think. If you drive the golf ball in play, the greens were rolling a little bit better today. I think we’ll see some putts go in.”
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They were going in for just about everybody.
Woodland’s 36-hole score broke the PGA record by 1 shot, most recently set by Jimmy Walker and Robert Streb at Baltusrol. It also tied the 36-hole record for all majors, matching Jordan Spieth at the Masters (2015), Martin Kaymer at the U.S. Open (2014) and Brandt Snedeker (2012) an Nick Faldo (1992) at the British Open.
Woodland played well in front of what was sometimes a hostile crowd. Though the Topeka native has many family members and friends following him around the course, he also has heard a few jeers from Missouri supporters.
“I’m getting more ‘M-I-Zs’ than I am ‘Rock Chalks,’ which is very rare,” Woodland said during an interview posted to the PGA Tour’s Twitter account. “But it’s funny. It’s good banter back and forth between the Kansas and Missouri fans. The crowds are awesome. There’s a lot of energy out there, and it’s positive energy.”
Woodland and Kisner played in the same group, and they offered a great example that Bellerive is accommodating to just about any game. Woodland is among the most powerful players in golf. Kisner is not. He relies more on a clean hit with his irons and a great short game.
The course is so soft — not so much from Tuesday’s rain, but the extreme heat that requires more water on the turf — that every flag is accessible provided players find the ample fairways.
Woodland, even with the lowest 36-hole score in 60 years of stroke play at the PGA Championship, still had a long way to go. In conditions like Bellerive, no lead was safe.
“I feel safe because I feel safe where my game is,” Woodland said.
The Star’s Jesse Newell contributed to this report.