Molinari continues rise up US PGA Championship leaderboard

Open champion Francesco Molinari continued his impressive fightback on day two of the 100th US PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club.

Molinari, who became the first Italian player to win a major with his victory at Carnoustie last month, was three over par after seven holes of his opening round.

But the world number six played the remaining 11 holes in five under to card an opening 68 and carried on where he left off on day two by chipping in for birdie on the 10th, his opening hole.

The par-four 11th had been shortened to 298 yards to encourage players to attempt to drive the green, but with a pond guarding the right side of the green Molinari opted for an iron off the tee and had to settle for a par after missing from 11 feet for birdie.

However, the 35-year-old holed from short range on the 12th and 14th for birdie to improve to five under par, three shots off the lead shared by Americans Gary Woodland and Kevin Kisner.

Woodland, who started working with Molinari’s putting coach Phil Kenyon at Carnoustie, had held a one-shot overnight lead and recovered from a bogey on the 14th with a brilliant eagle from five feet on the 17th.

Playing partner Kisner had made an even more impressive start to the day with five birdies in the first seven holes as the players took advantage of a course shortened by 123 yards.

England’s Matt Wallace had been tipped as a player to watch by compatriot Tommy Fleetwood and was certainly living up to the star billing as he covered the back nine in 31 to improve to three under par overall.

- Press Association

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