US PGA: Zalatoris hits the front on day two

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LEADERBOARD–9Zalatoris; -8 Pereira; -6 Thomas; -4 McIlroy, Watson, Ancer, Riley; -3 Fitzpatrick SELECTED OTHERS–2 Hatton; +1 Spieth, Schauffele, MacIntyre, Fleetwood; +2 Rahm, Koepka; +3 Woods. 

It was all change on day two at the PGA Championship as the lead changed hands in the second major of the year.

The first round belonged to Rory McIlroy – but it was Will Zalatoris who stole the show on Friday.

Zalatoris has a superb record in the majors and after some close calls, is in a great position to finally break his duck. After he rode his luck with some fortunate breaks, a run of three birdies in three holes on the back nine took him to nine-under.

He was joined at the top by surprise package Mito Pereira. The Colombian PGA Tour rookie would not have been many people’s choice, but he shares the lead at the halfway mark.

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“I got away with murder a few times for sure,” Zalatoris admitted after his round.

“I hit a few trees. But I made a bunch of six-to-eight-footers to keep the round going. 

“We lucked out a little bit with the draw – I played the last eight holes in not much wind.”

Hot on the leader’s heels was Mito Pereira, the tournament’s surprise package. This time last year he was playing on the Korn Ferry Tour – now the Colombian is one shot off the lead at the halfway mark of a major championship.

In every major played at Southern Hills over the years, the 36-hole leader has gone on to win, so history is on the side of Zalatoris – but as well as Pereira, a host of players will fancy their chances over the weekend.

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Justin Thomas set an early clubhouse lead in the toughest conditions early in the day. A charge from veteran Bubba Watson saw him move to four-under alongside McIlroy, who is still in the hunt. It wasn’t a vintage performance, but at there is every chance he could claw back the deficit.

Matt Fitzpatrick went to three-under, and will have designs on going lower on Saturday and Sunday.

Zalatoris may have the advantage, but it’s still all to play for in Tulsa.





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