Sunday, Jan 21, 2018
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Scott keeps rolling as rain lets up at Oak Hill

Austrian pushes score to 7 under through 12 holes of PGA Championship


Adam Scott, of Australia, watches his tee shot on the 11th hole during the second round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at Oak Hill Country Club in Pittsford, N.Y.


PITTSFORD, N.Y. — The rain let up at soggy Oak Hill.

Adam Scott kept right on rolling.

The co-leader from the opening round pulled ahead of everyone else with another flurry of birdies today at the PGA Championship, taking advantage of a course softened even more by morning showers.

Scott, who opened with a 5-under 65, pushed his score to 7 under through 12 holes — two shots clear of the field. He had four birdies, most notably sinking a 40-foot putt at the second, though a couple of bogeys kept him from stretching his lead even more.

The early starters had to break out the umbrellas and rain gear for showers that turned heavy at times, though the course seemed to be draining well and there no stoppage of play.

For a while, the final major of the year looked more like a British Open.

In fact, England’s Luke Donald longed for the other side of the Atlantic.

“I much prefer the weather in the UK,” he quipped, walking off the 10th green.

Really, he had no reason to complain. The dreary weather provided another chance to attack the soft greens that made Thursday seem more like a regular tour event than a test of major proportions.

No one took advantage like Webb Simpson. He was 7 under through his first 15 holes and making a run at the major championship scoring record before a bogey at the seventh — his 16th hole of the round — stemmed his momentum. No one has ever posted a round lower than 63 in one of golf’s biggest events.

Still, the surge left the former U.S. Open winner just three strokes behind Scott, lumped in a group at 4 under that also included Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer and David Hearn.

The Aussie, starting on the back side, chipped in at No. 10 for a birdie that quickly gave him the outright lead on Jim Furyk, who also shot 65 on Thursday. The 43-year-old American had an afternoon tee time, when the weather was expected to turn sunny — and remain that way through the rest of the weekend.

Many wondered if the PGA of America might try to boost Oak Hill’s defenses with tougher hole locations.

“The golf course can easily be protected with pins,” Graeme McDowell said after opening with a 70. “They can soon tuck these pins away and make this a difficult test.”

On Day 1, Tiger Woods hardly looked a player capable of breaking an 0-for-17 drought in the majors since his 2008 triumph at the U.S. Open.

The world’s top-ranked player closed with a double-bogey to finish with a 71 and went into today with a staggering 49 players standing between him and the top spot on the leaderboard. He figured to face a more-daunting challenge by the time he teed off in the afternoon.

Others ripped through a course that was very much there for the taking, the birdies falling into the cup at an alarming rate.

Scott strung together five in a row on the way to his opening 65. Furyk had a bogey-free round going until a stumble at the final hole left him with a 65 as well. Westwood and unheralded Canadian David Hearn shot 66, and a total of 35 players broke par.

That compared to only 10 rounds in the 60s when the PGA Championship was at Oak Hill a decade ago.

While Woods came in as the overwhelming favorite, Scott increasingly looks like a player who will add more major titles to the one he finally got in a Masters playoff back in April.

Three weeks ago, he had the Sunday lead on the back nine at Muirfield before fading. In the last major of the year, there were times he looked unstoppable.

“Just got on a bit of a roll and hit a few shots close,” Scott said before the second round. “I didn’t have too much putting to do. You’ve got to take advantage when it happens, because it doesn’t happen too much in the majors.”

Woody Austin would be happy just to make it to the weekend after being assessed a four-stroke penalty for carrying an extra club.

Golfers are allowed to carry 14 clubs in their bags. Austin discovered the extra club while playing the third hole, removed it from the bag and reported the infraction to an official.

The rules call for a two-stroke penalty for each hole played with an extra club, up to a maximum of four strokes. Austin added two strokes to his score for the first and second holes.

While rare, Austin isn’t the first player to receive such a penalty. Ian Woosnam was in contention at the 2001 British Open when he began the final round with 15 clubs. He took a two-stroke penalty and finished third.

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