September 28, 2020

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Another major, another Brooks Koepka show

Sports Prism

Haotong Li flew ahead of the pack on Friday morning at the PGA Championship, though he’s got plenty of big names chasing him headed into the weekend at TPC Harding Park.

Here are the highlights from Round 2.

Brooks Koepka in contention, again

It wouldn’t be a major championship without Brooks Koepka in the mix.

Koepka, who opened the tournament with a 4-under 66, dropped to 6-under after Friday and into a tie for third thanks to four birdies in his final six holes of the day. He trails Li by just two shots, and is within three shots of the leader for the sixth time in his last eight major appearances.

“I feel like it obviously could have been a lot better today,” Koepka said. “Could’ve tightened a few things up … I like where I’m at. I like my position, and I’m excited for the weekend.”

Koepka has now made the cut in 23 straight major championships, too, by far the longest streak on Tour. 

He appeared to be dealing with a hip injury throughout his round on Friday, something he said had started bothering him right when he woke up.

There were several times when he even had to be stretched out during his round. 

Yet the 30-year-old, who has been dealing with a stubborn knee injury for months now, insisted after the round that there wasn’t anything to worry about.

“It was one of those things where you wake up in the morning and it doesn’t feel right,” he said on ESPN. “It’s tight … Eventually it just kind of tightened back up again.”

Brooks Koepka at the PGA ChampionshipBrooks Koepka at the PGA Championship

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Brooks Koepka of the United States stretches out on the 12th hole during the second round of the 2020 PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park on August 07, 2020 in San Francisco, California. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Koepka isn’t the only one within striking distance of Li.

Tommy Fleetwood tied the best round of the day on Friday with a 6-under 64, which launched him up 45 spots on the leaderboard and into a tie with Koepka. 

Jason Day is right there at 6-under, too, and even had a shot to tie the lead near the end of his round — though a double bogey on No. 12 dropped him back after he chipped his approach over the green. 

“Obviously 12 was a bit of a mess,” Day said. “Wish I could have at least bogeyed that instead of doubled it, but overall, I gave myself plenty of opportunities coming in and just didn’t capitalize on them like I did yesterday.

“So shooting 69 today, moving in the right direction, which is nice, if I can do that over the weekend, maybe shoot a couple more over the Saturday and Sunday round, hopefully I’m there, Sunday in contention.”

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="They’ve got a crowd with them at 6-under, too, as Justin Rose, Joel Dahmen, Daniel Berger and Mike Lorenzo-Vera all fought their way into the massive tie for second.” data-reactid=”57″>They’ve got a crowd with them at 6-under, too, as Justin Rose, Joel Dahmen, Daniel Berger and Mike Lorenzo-Vera all fought their way into the massive tie for second.

Haotong Li jumps ahead, doesn’t leave course

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Li surged to the lead behind a bogey-free 5-under on Friday morning, bringing him to 8-under on the week.&nbsp;” data-reactid=”59″>Li surged to the lead behind a bogey-free 5-under on Friday morning, bringing him to 8-under on the week. 

The jump was a historic one for the 25-year-old, who has played just a handful of times on the PGA Tour in the past two seasons. Li became the first golfer from China to ever lead a major championship overnight, and would be the first from the country to ever win a major should he hold the lead through the tournament. 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="“Well, I've got no expectation actually, because you know, last few months, [I’ve had to] stay at home doing nothing,” Li said after his round. “I just want to go out here have fun.”” data-reactid=”61″>“Well, I’ve got no expectation actually, because you know, last few months, [I’ve had to] stay at home doing nothing,” Li said after his round. “I just want to go out here have fun.”

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="While Li’s round was impressive, it was what he did afterward that really turned heads.&nbsp;” data-reactid=”62″>While Li’s round was impressive, it was what he did afterward that really turned heads. 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Li, who teed off just after 7 a.m. local time, was still practicing on the range at TPC Harding Park when the last groups of the day were wrapping up.” data-reactid=”63″>Li, who teed off just after 7 a.m. local time, was still practicing on the range at TPC Harding Park when the last groups of the day were wrapping up.

You can always play better, right?

Tiger sneaks in

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Tiger Woods didn’t make things easy on himself.” data-reactid=”68″>Tiger Woods didn’t make things easy on himself.

The 82-time Tour winner made three bogeys in his first 10 holes on Friday. At one point, Woods was sitting right up against the cutline with just three holes to play.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="However, thanks to a birdie on No. 16, followed by a pair of pars to close out his day, Woods snuck his way back to even par on the week and into the field for the final two rounds.” data-reactid=”74″>However, thanks to a birdie on No. 16, followed by a pair of pars to close out his day, Woods snuck his way back to even par on the week and into the field for the final two rounds.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Woods’ group struggled, too. Rory McIlroy finished with a 1-under 69, though offset four straight birdies with a triple bogey on his back nine. Justin Thomas, who won last week at the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational and claimed the top spot in the world, went 3-over in just two holes on his back nine and finished the day with an even-par 70 — dropping him to 1-over for the week.” data-reactid=”77″>Woods’ group struggled, too. Rory McIlroy finished with a 1-under 69, though offset four straight birdies with a triple bogey on his back nine. Justin Thomas, who won last week at the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational and claimed the top spot in the world, went 3-over in just two holes on his back nine and finished the day with an even-par 70 — dropping him to 1-over for the week.

PGA Tour Tiger WoodsPGA Tour Tiger Woods

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Tiger Woods of the United States looks over a putt on the sixth green during the second round of the 2020 PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park on August 07, 2020 in San Francisco, California. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Rickie Fowler, other notables miss cut

Rickie Fowler was trying to make his 15th straight cut at a major championship this week.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="He would have, too, had he not slipped on a basic 6-inch putt near the end of his round.” data-reactid=”100″>He would have, too, had he not slipped on a basic 6-inch putt near the end of his round.

Fowler, looking to clean up a bogey with a 6-inch putt on No. 6, slipped and accidentally bumped his ball. He instantly jumped back, and then had to finish the putt, which was now a double bogey.

That — paired with a bogey on No. 8, his 17th of the day — dropped Fowler to 2-over for the week. The cutline closed at 1-over.

Fowler was one of several big names not to make it into the weekend in San Francisco. Jim Furyk and Matt Kuchar dropped to 2-over and 3-over, respectively, on Friday. Both rising stars Sungjae Im and Joaquin Niemann ended the round at 4-over, and Sergio Garcia fell to 6-over after carding his second-straight 73.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="More from Yahoo Sports:” data-reactid=”108″>More from Yahoo Sports: