Xander Schauffele 36-hole leader at PGA Championship with Morikawa, Scheffler chasing

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Xander Schauffele stepped onto the first tee Friday at Valhalla Golf Club after a historic first round at the PGA Championship. He shot a 9-under 62, giving him the 18-hole lead. It tied the men’s major scoring record, the lowest round in PGA Championship history.

Friday’s round for Schauffele didn’t smash records or set career-scoring bests. But it kept the 30-year-old atop the PGA Championship leaderboard heading into the weekend.

Schauffele shot a second-round 68, giving him the 36-hole lead. It’s the second consecutive week Schauffele led a tournament after 36 holes. Last week, Schauffele couldn’t secure the win, thanks to a dominant performance from Rory McIlroy.

The seven-time PGA Tour winner is looking for a different outcome this week, attempting to capture his first major championship.

Schauffele went out with a 3-under 32 on the front nine, recording three birdies. On the back nine, after birdieing the par-5 10th, Schauffele bogeyed the par-3 11th. He finished with seven straight pars, holding onto a one-shot lead.

Chasing Schauffele is Collin Morikawa, who tied for the low round Friday with a 6-under 65. Per Justin Ray, Morikawa is the eighth player in PGA Championship history to open with back-to-back rounds of 66 or lower.

Scottie Scheffler, the world No. 1, sits at 9-under-par, three shots off the lead, after firing a 5-under 66. He rose up the leaderboard hours after he was arrested while trying to navigate a traffic backup caused by a crash that killed a pedestrian outside Valhalla.

Tiger Woods, the 15-time major champion, missed the cut after finishing the PGA Championship at 7-over-par. He shot a 6-over 77, a round that consisted of two triple bogeys on the front nine. Woods hasn’t made the cut at the PGA since 2020.

Jon Rahm, the 2023 Masters champion, and Wyndham Clark, the reigning U.S. Open champion, were among the notables to miss the cut.

Schauffele thriving tee to green, but can he close?

The field might have caught up to him, but it’s hard not to be impressed with Schauffele through 36 holes. He’s still thriving from tee to green, gaining 4.29 strokes there Friday compared to the field. The only reason he didn’t pull away further is because he had an off putting day for his standards.

That’s the one thing that should return over the next few days. The unfortunate thing for Schauffele is every round he leads will only add more pressure as arguably the best golfer without a major.

He’s failed to win three tournaments this year while playing in the final group, and even if that’s not entirely fair (McIlroy dominated last Sunday at Quail Hollow) it doesn’t change the perception. And it doesn’t change the pressure. — Brody Miller, staff golf writer

What to expect for the weekend

Overall, the weekend is set up for a thrilling finish. It’s an almost ideal leaderboard, with the two-time major champ Morikawa right on Schauffele’s heels after a disappointing few years and rising star Sahith Theegala finally putting himself on the biggest stage.

The public will fall in love with Theegala as they get the chance. Oh, and the best player in the world, Scheffler, is just three back.

Bryson DeChambeau is making big noise for the second straight major and Viktor Hovland just shot 66 to quiet concerns about his poor season. It’s about to get good. — Miller

Required reading

(Photo: Joe Robbins / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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