Who is Gary Woodland (Bridgestone Tour B X)?
Early in the 100th edition of the PGA Championship, Woodland has been making a name for himself with the lead at 10-under par after the first 36 holes, although the second round had to be suspended because of rain and many players hadn’t finished their round.
Woodland entered the tournament ranked 37th on the FedEx Cup rankings and 44th on the World Golf Rankings. He won the Waste Management Phoenix Open in February, but hasn’t done much of consequence since, so that’s why his performance early in the PGA Championship has been surprising.
The 34-year-old native of Kansas has three PGA Tour wins. Could he be one of the players flying under the radar who wins his first Major?
Well, not only will his play in the final 36 holes determine that, but the condition of the course at Bellerive Country Club in Town and Country Missouri will be a factor. The rain that suspended play in the second round will undoubtedly slow things down.
That said, there is a ton of golf to be played and some of the best players in the world are very much in contention.
Dustin Johnson, the world’s top-ranked player, is three back of Woodland after 36 holes. He posted a four-under par in the second round and appears totally dialed in. He was my pick to win the tournament.
Kevin Kisner (Titleist Pro V1) carded a six-under 64 in the second round and was two shots back of Woodland.
Brooks Koepka (Titleist Pro V1x) carded a seven-under 63, only one shot off of the course record, to sit at eight-under-par. Having won the U.S. Open for the second consecutive year, Koepka has to be factored in as a player who could be in the hunt for the lead.
Ricky Fowler (Titleist Pro V1), who had the lead after the first round with a five-under-par 65, has eight holes left to play in his second round, in which he was two-under-par. Fowler is the best active player on the PGA Tour not to have won a major. Maybe this will be his tournament to rid himself of that tag.
Tiger Woods (Bridgestone Tour B XS) sits at three-under-par after opening with a even-par 70. He has 11 holes left to play.
It’s believed even-par will be the cutoff line.
It will be interesting to see what Jon Rahm (TaylorMade TP5x) does. He is five-under-par through 36 holes. He’s had a disappointing year to this point, but he has too much talent to be overlooked when he’s playing like this.
Patrick Cantlay (Titleist Pro V1x), who I touted as my long shot pick in the preview for this tournament, is also at five-under-par.
Whatever happens the rest of the way in the tournament, it shouldn’t be anything like the U.S. Open, which ruined it for many players and, to a certain degree, the fans.
This final major of the season could and should be exciting for all involved.