Thick fog delayed the start of the second day of the 92nd US PGA Championship at Whistling Straits on Friday, putting the tournament further behind schedule.
More than three hours of golf was lost because of fog on Thursday and 78 players were unable to complete their first rounds because of fading light in the evening. It was hoped some time would be made up with an early start on Friday but conditions prevented that.
Organisers were not able to say when play would start but the delay was likely to be lengthy. “Once the fog has lifted and it is clear to play, the first starting time will be 30 minutes following that time,” officials said.
When play does begin the first round will be concluded before the second round commences, raising the possibility that the second round will not be finished until Saturday.
Among the players still on the course on Thursday night were Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els. Tiger Woods, whose world No. 1 ranking is under threat following the worst PGA Tour performance of his career, was among the early starters and showed signs of improvement with a one-under-par 71.
That left him three behind the clubhouse leaders, American Bubba Watson and Italian Francesco Molinari, and three others still on the course.
Watson and Molinari share lead
The Tiger Woods show entered a more positive phase on Thursday but it was American Bubba Watson and Italian Francesco Molinari who took control. On a breezy Whistling Straits demanding precision off the tee and patience, left-hander Watson and Molinari carded matching four-under-par 68s to set the pace in the year's final major.
American Ryan Moore briefly got to five under but bogeyed two of his last three holes playing into the wind for a 69 to finish level with compatriot Charles Howell III and Australian Jason Day.
Although Woods lost ground after racing into a tie for the lead with three birdies in his first four holes, he was delighted to record only his third sub-par score in his last 17 rounds on the PGA Tour.
“It would have been very disappointing and frustrating to end up at even par as well as I played today,” four-times champion Woods said after mixing four birdies with three bogeys. “Everything was better.
“To shoot under par just feels like less than I should have shot for the way I played today and that's a good feeling. I felt like I had control of the ball for most of the day.”
While Woods erased the memories of his joint second-last finish and 18-over total at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational on Sunday, Watson putted superbly and Molinari avoided trouble to take joint control.
“It was a great day," he said after a round featuring six birdies, two bogeys and several recoveries to save par. “My mental focus was really good.”