Tiger Woods and his closest rivals were bracing themselves for another difficult day at Hazeltine National as they prepared for the third round of the US PGA Championship.
High temperatures and gusting winds at the Minnesota course made for a challenging second round yesterday as Woods opened up a four-stroke lead at seven under par over the field with a two-under 70.
With another windy day in progress at the 7,674-yard layout near Minneapolis, the longest course in major championship history, there was also a possibility of thunderstorms disrupting the leaders as they got their rounds under way.
“You have to place your golf ball around the golf course,” Woods said last night. “You’ve got to play and execute and tomorrow is supposed to be just as windy, so again, another day of executing and being very patient.”
Woods leads a five-man group on three under containing defending champion Padraig Harrington, US Open champion Lucas Glover, England’s Ross Fisher, Australian Brendan Jones and two-time winner Vijay Singh, who was set to join the world number one in the final pairing.
England’s Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter were a shot further back at two under par with South African Ernie Els, Denmark’s Soren Kjeldsen, Germany’s Martin Kaymer and Korean Y E Yang all at one under.
Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, Australian Geoff Ogilvy and American Kenny Perry were in a large group at level par, as was US 2010 Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin.
The wind was blowing early at Hazeltine as the back markers among the 80 players to have made the halfway cut negotiated their third rounds.
American Steve Flesch had made the most progress, three under for the day to get to even par after six holes while Open champion Stewart Cink improved to one over par with a birdie at the par-four second.
Scotland’s Alastair Forsyth was having an eventful round, three birdies and four bogeys seeing him slip to five over par after 11 holes and Englishman Luke Donald was at six over, two over for the day, having played 13.
England’s Chris Wood, tied for third at last month’s Open, was also at six over after eight holes, three over for his round, but no-one was struggling as much as American Phil Mickelson.
The world number two was four over for the day through 11 holes and propping up the leaderboard at eight over par.