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18th May 2024

Scottie Scheffler enjoys impressive Friday at Valhalla despite “stretching in a jail cell”

Paddy Morgan

Scottie Scheffler is still in contention at the PGA Championship despite his arrest on Friday morning.

It was a surprise that the PGA of America didn’t decide to bring placing into effect amid Friday’s multiple mud balls and constant drizzle.

It was a gloomy day in Valhalla and that was before a ball was even struck.

The golf was delayed by one hour and twenty minutes due to a fatal accident outside the gates of Valhalla Golf Club at 6:01 am (US time). A worker at the championship, John Mills, was the victim of a shuttle bus crash.

And that was shortly before a separate incident saw world number one Scottie Scheffler handcuffed, brought to the Kentucky Police Department and later returned to Valhalla Golf Club in a Range Rover at 9:12 am.

Scheffler, who was -4 at that point, still decided to participate and showed no signs of stress to execute an up-and-down from 92 yards at the 10th hole.

A rare mistake by Scheffler at hole 11 resulted in a bogey, but he bounced back immediately with a birdie at his next hole to return 5-under. The world number 1 finished his front nine with a birdie to shoot an impressive -2 and move to -6.

It was business as usual from the two-time Masters champion from there as he advanced to -8 by making birdies at his 10th and 13th hole. Scheffler was out of position at the par-five seventh hole but still managed to escape with a birdie to reach -9.

It took a lot of resilience after everything that happened on Friday morning for Scheffler just to play, let alone shoot an incredible round of 66. Not bad for a man who “spent some time stretching in a jail cell”.

A busy round of PGA Championship action.

2020 PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa (-5) also started his round at 10 am and moved up to 7-under courtesy of a front nine of 34.

Morikawa recently returned to his old coach Rich Sessinghaus and was back to his best, making five birdies in a row to take the lead on 12-under. He finished with a bogey at the ninth hole but shot an impressive round of 65.

18 hole leader Xander Schauffele (-9) started his second round two shots behind Morikawa (-11). Schauffele continued to impress as he shot a front nine of -3 to retake the lead on -12. The 2021 Olympic Gold medalist reached 13-under after 10 holes but returned to -12 due to a bogey at 12.

Schauffele was unsuccessful in achieving another birdie and shot a -3 round of 68 to finish -12.

Elsewhere, Sahith Theegala (-6) achieved a front nine of -4 including an excellent birdie at the ninth hole. Theegala’s final birdie on Friday came at the 12th and will head into Saturday two-shots behind leader Schauffele.

The chances of a LIV Tour member winning are still alive as 2020 US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau shot an incredible round of 66 to join Scheffler on -9.

Mark Hubbard and Thomas Detry are also in good shape, tied fourth on -9. The eight unders include Tony Finau, Austin Eckroat and Viktor Hovland; Hovland another player who has returned to a former coach in the form of Joe Mayo.

Defending PGA Championship winner Brooks Koepka had an up and down second day but keeps his hopes of a fourth win alive by heading into Saturday on 7-under.

Rory McIlroy suffers double bogey.

Rory McIlroy, meanwhile, played day one and two with Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose. McIlroy shot an impressive opening round of 66 and teed off on Friday at 3pm America time.

McIlroy got off to a perfect start on Friday by holing a tram-liner for birdie at the first hole to reach -6.

The County Down man missed the fairway at six resulting in a bogey but made two great putts for birdie at seven and a par at the ninth to shoot a -1 front nine.

However, a massive mistake by McIlroy was to follow. His second shot at 12 found a greenside bunker and three putts later he was chalked down for a double bogey. He finished with a birdie at 18 to shoot a level par round of 71.

His countryman Shane Lowry (-2) shot a great front nine of 34 to reach -4. The Offaly native played his back nine in level par to finish -4.

1-under was the halfway cut, forcing major champions including Padraig Harrington and Tiger Woods to have a weekend off.

With McIlroy at -5 and Lowry at -4, the Irish still have an outside chance of winning, but a low round will be crucial on moving day.

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