TULSA | In his eighth appearance in a Grand Slam tournament, Will Zalatoris is almost always in the picture. After 36 holes at the PGA of America Championship, the young star leads one of the toughest fields with composure and tact.
• To read also: PGA Championship: saved by his putter
At just 25 and in his second full season among the world's elite, the American recorded a perfect 65 (-5) card, bogey-free. On Friday, he moved to the top of the table, one stroke ahead of Chilean Mito Pereira. This is also his first appearance at this major championship.
By his behavior on the greens, everything indicates that Zalatoris has found the instruction manual for his putter. A real Achilles heel on the PGA Tour when the majority of indicators relegate him beyond the 140th rank with this tool in hand.
In his two rounds at Southern Hills, he managed to gain 6.18 strokes on the greens compared to the rest of the board he leads in this column.
Work to continue
In the seven major championships played on this course since 1936, the eventual winner always led after the final rounds.
“There is still a long road ahead. We must continue to play well and reach the most greens in prescribed strokes. This way, it is more difficult to miss your chance. I love the story, but I have to keep working and I wish I had done well enough in the end to win,” the young golfer warned.
Leader at the end of the first round, Rory McIlroy is in fifth place. Although he tried to keep the pedal to the metal in calmer conditions in the afternoon, he signed a 71 (1) card.
Just ahead of him on the board at -5, Bubba Watson achieved his best career score in this championship by equaling the record, a 63 (-7). The American with two major titles stalled nine birdies.
Thomas: master of the winds
You had to fasten your cap with brooches in the morning in the greater Tulsa area. The wind was blowing in all directions and the clouds were a bad sign. The gusts reached up to 55 km/h.
So in the weather context, the officials decided not to mow the greens in order to avoid carnage on the board.
Justin Thomas, however, managed to control Éole by performing a real tour de force.
The champion of the 2017 edition brought back a second card of 67 (-3) in order to settle temporarily at the top of the classification before the wave of starts in the afternoon.
Confident in these elements, the 29-year-old American was able to control his distances to the objectives.
“Hitting the ball solidly in exactly the right spot on the face of the stick helps a lot with controlling trajectories and distances, but in my opinion, I am successful in these conditions since I am able to hit my targets.
"What's unique about this course is that you don't have a lot of holes with a head or tail wind. We have to deal with crosswinds. So you have to know how to control the trajectories so that the ball hits the targets. »
Installed in third place, three strokes behind the leader, Thomas will be one to watch closely this weekend. Rain and winds up to 45 km/h appear in the forecast on Saturday.
Hadwin hold on
In addition, Adam Hadwin narrowly saved the Canadian honor when he is the only one of the three maple leaf golfers to participate in the final rounds. A round of 71 (1) was sufficient.
Having started in the morning, he kept his fingers crossed throughout the afternoon so that the ax held at 4, his cumulative score.
“I had some difficulties in the middle of the course. I lost the aisles. When you can't get your ball into the fairways around here, you struggle to get to the green in prescribed strokes, which eliminates birdie opportunities,” he explained.
The British Columbia golfer missed six fairways on Friday, committing three bogeys on those occasions.
Both at 9, Corey Conners and Mackenzie Hughes obviously won't be weekend rounds.
79 golfers resisted the ax fell to 4.
4 holes on 75 yards
In our Thursday edition, we noted problematic and dangerous places on the course due to the proximity of the lines of play. On Friday, Cam Smith's ball unfortunately hit Aaron Wise in the head on the 7th hole. Settled on the 9th tee on Friday, following Adam Hadwin, I saw the four-hole segments line up next to each other for 75 yards. Thus, the 9th tee is located a few feet from the 8th green. This is bordered by the mound of the 18th while the green of the 17th is a stone's throw away. We are therefore witnessing alternating moves between groups performing in the same sector.
UPS launches a message
It was not a brown-clad delivery man who delivered a letter to Lee Westwood and Louis Oosthuizen, but rather senior management at United Parcel Service (UPS). The large postal company has cut ties with the two golfers it has been sponsoring for years. According to Sports Illustrated, ties have been severed between Westwood and UPS since he revealed his desire to join the new Saudi-powered "league" LIV Golf. Oosthuizen no longer wears the crest of the American company on its polo shirt. You should know that UPS is a major sponsor of the Ryder Cup, a biannual event organized by the PGA and the European Tour. They have clearly expressed their opinion about the arrival of a similar circuit wanting to attract the biggest names in the game by happily distributing millions. The first tournament of this circuit is scheduled for June 9-11 at a club in the London area.
Gasoline at $1.03 a liter in Tulsa!
According to the indicators, the cheapest gasoline across the United States is in Oklahoma. Kum service stations