Only four of the 11 South Africans who started the 104th PGA Championship on Thursday made the 4-over par halfway cut.
And unfortunately none of those sticking around for the weekend are likely to threaten the leaders.
Shaun Norris (71-72) and Justin Harding (71-72) fared best of the Mzansi contingent on 3-over par, a full 12 strokes behind 36-hole leader, American Will Zalatoris.
They are followed by two South African ‘veterans’ in Charl Schwartzel (71-73) and Louis Oosthuizen (73-71) who made the cut on the number.
The remaining seven South Africans will sadly be packing their bags early.
They are: Branden Grace (73-72), Christiaan Bezuidenhout (73-73), Dean Burmester (69-78), Danie van Tonder (74-75), Garrick Higgo (74-76), Oliver Bekker (78-72) and Erik van Rooyen (75-76).
Louis Oosthuizen. Photo: Twitter @Louis57TM
Meanwhile, Zalatoris fired a bogey-free five-under-par 65 to seize a one-stroke lead after Friday’s second round of the PGA Championship while Tiger Woods battled his way into the weekend.
Aided when gusting winds vanished in the afternoon at daunting Southern Hills, late-starter Zalatoris reeled off three back-nine birdies in a row and sank a seven-foot birdie putt at the 17th to finish 36 holes on 9-under-par 131.
“I had the luck of the draw. There wasn’t any wind after the 11th hole,” Zalatoris said.
“I made the most of it with some good shotmaking.”
That enabled 30th-ranked Zalatoris, last year’s Masters runner-up and the 2021 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, to grab a one-stroke lead over Chile’s Mito Pereira, who fired a 64 to stand second on 132.
“I guess shooting six-under wasn’t really the expectation, but here we are,” the 27-year-old from Santiago said.
“Not going to change anything.”
Woods, fighting back after severe leg injuries in a car crash 15 months ago, overcame a double bogey at the par-3 11th with birdies at the par-5 13th and par-4 16th to shoot 69 and make the weekend on 3-over 143.
“I had to grind and go to work and I did and I made it,” Woods said.
“It wasn’t pretty. I had to fight back. I’m not able to move like I did.”
The most beautiful shotmaking came from two-time Masters winner Bubba Watson, who matched the course record with a seven-under par 63 that included nine birdies, his most in any major round.
“It’s very nice. Don’t get me wrong. It’s an honour to be able to shoot 63 on any golf course. I’ll take it,” Watson said.
“But I’ve got to look forward to tomorrow and see where I’m at and hit hopefully just as quality shots as I did today.”
Watson was fourth on 135, one stroke behind 2017 PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas, who played in the most brutal of winds, and one stroke ahead of Rory McIlroy, the 18-hole leader who battled to a 71 to share fifth on 136 with American Davis Riley and Mexico’s Abraham Ancer.
“There’s a long way to go,” said McIlroy, expecting a change in wind direction for the weekend.
“We’re going to see a completely different course. Everyone is going to have to adapt.”
Watson only missed matching the all-time low major round of 62 when he missed a 23-foot birdie putt at the 18.
“I gave it a chance,” Watson said.
“But I didn’t want to three-putt so I didn’t give it too much of a chance.”
Zalatoris, who has four top-10 finishes in seven major starts, began his birdie blitz at the par-3 11th and made every putt he had inside 10 feet.
“Kept the momentum going with some good putts,” he said.
World number 100 Pereira, who missed the cut at the 2019 US Open in his only prior major start, took full advange of diminished afternoon wind to make seven birdies against a lone bogey.
“It was lucky to get that draw,” Pereira said.
“I’ve had good days and bad days but everything I’ve experienced has helped me to get here and play good golf,” Pereira said.
American Thomas fired a second consecutive 67.
“Very pleased,” Thomas said.
“I stayed very patient… and I’m glad to have a good round to show for it.”
The biggest crowds, however, followed Woods, the 15-time major winner in his second comeback event after sharing 47th at the Masters last month, when walking 72 holes was an achievement.
“Hopefully this weekend I get a hot weekend, some tough conditions and you never know,” Woods said.
“The mission is to go ahead and win this thing somehow.”
Woods struggled to a 74 on Thursday and for most of the Friday was flirting with the cut line as he battled alongside McIlroy, the 18-hole leader with an opening 65, and Jordan Spieth, trying to complete a career Grand Slam.
Spieth also shot 69 and stood on 141 after 36 holes, 10 off the pace.
The world’s three top-ranked golfers were grouped in a major for the first time since the 2013 US Open, but all were over par overall.
Spain’s second-ranked Jon Rahm, the reigning US Open champion from Spain who could return to number one with a victory, shot 69 to stand on 142.
“I can’t ask much more of myself,” Rahm said.
“It was a good day. It was good golf. Just tough.”
Third-ranked American Collin Morikawa, the reigning British Open champion, fired his second 72 to stand on 144.
Top-ranked Masters champion Scottie Scheffler, who has won four of his past eight starts, fired a 75 to miss the PGA Championship halfway cut on 146 with two-time major winner Dustin Johnson.
Scores after Friday’s second round of the PGA Championship at par-70 Southern Hills Country Club:
131 – Will Zalatoris (USA) 66-65
132 – Mito Pereira (CHI) 68-64
134 – Justin Thomas (USA) 67-67
135 – Bubba Watson (USA) 72-63
136 – Davis Riley (USA) 68-68, Abraham Ancer (MEX) 67-69, Rory McIlroy (NIR) 65-71
137 – Matthew Fitzpatrick (ENG) 68-69, Stewart Cink (USA) 69-68
138 – Cameron Smith (AUS) 68-70, Matt Kuchar (USA) 67-71, Chris Kirk (USA) 68-70, Gary Woodland (USA) 70-68, Sam Burns (USA) 71-67, Cameron Young (USA) 71-67, Tyrrell Hatton (ENG) 70-68
139 – Max Homa (USA) 70-69, Talor Gooch (USA) 69-70, Kevin Na (USA) 68-71, Patrick Reed (USA) 69-70, Bernd Wiesberger (AUT) 72-67, Joaquin Niemann (CHI) 68-71
140 – Adri Arnaus (ESP) 72-68, Seamus Power (IRL) 71-69, Viktor Hovland (NOR) 70-70, Ryan Fox (NZL) 70-70, Beau Hossler (USA) 69-71, Cameron Tringale (USA) 72-68, Tom Hoge (USA) 66-74
141 – Denny McCarthy (USA) 73-68, Justin Rose (ENG) 71-70, Tommy Fleetwood (ENG) 71-70, Robert MacIntyre (SCO) 70-71, Xander Schauffele (USA) 68-73, Aaron Wise (USA) 69-72, Lucas Herbert (AUS) 68-73 Tony Finau (USA) 69-72, Rickie Fowler (USA) 71-70, Jordan Spieth (USA) 72-69, Lanto Griffin (USA) 72-69
142 – Shane Lowry (IRL) 70-72, Jon Rahm (ESP) 73-69, Thomas Pieters (BEL) 69-73, Francesco Molinari (ITA) 70-72, Lee Kyung-Hoon (KOR) 69-73, Jason Kokrak (USA) 74-68, Brooks Koepka (USA) 75-67, Harold Varner III (USA) 71-71, Kramer Hickok (USA) 71-71, Keegan Bradley (USA) 72-70, Brendan Steele (USA) 70-72, Laurie Canter (ENG) 72-70
143 – Tiger Woods (USA) 74-69, Russell Henley (USA) 70-73, Adam Schenk (USA) 71-72, Kevin Streelman (USA) 71-72, Troy Merritt (USA) 73-70, Kim Si-Woo (KOR) 71-72, Shaun Norris (RSA) 71-72, Justin Harding (RSA) 71-72, Jason Day (AUS) 71-72, Marc Leishman (AUS) 72-71, Sepp Straka (AUT) 71-72
144 – Adam Hadwin (CAN) 73-71, Cameron Davis (AUS) 72-72, Charl Schwartzel (RSA) 71-73, Louis Oosthuizen (RSA) 73-71, Hideki Matsuyama (JPN) 72-72, Rikuya Hoshino (JPN) 74-70, Webb Simpson (USA) 69-75, Lucas Glover (USA) 75-69, Luke List (USA) 74-70, Collin Morikawa (USA) 72-72, Billy Horschel (USA) 75-69, Patton Kizzire (USA) 69-75, Maverick McNealy (USA) 73-71, Keith Mitchell (USA) 72-72, Sebastián Muñoz (COL) 74-70, Brian Harman (USA) 74-70
Missed the cut
145 – Harry Higgs (USA) 74-71, Ryan Palmer (USA) 73-72, Kevin Kisner (USA) 72-73, Chan Kim (USA) 72-73, J.J. Spaun (USA) 72-73, Ian Poulter (ENG) 76-69, Branden Grace (RSA) 73-72, Min Woo Lee (AUS) 73-72, Henrik Stenson (SWE) 72-73
146 – Alexander Norén (SWE) 70-76, Anirban Lahiri (IND) 73-73, Christiaan Bezuidenhout (RSA) 73-73, Jinichiro Kozuma (JPN) 73-73, Yang Yong-eun (KOR) 71-75, Lee Westwood (ENG) 75-71, Russell Knox (SCO) 74-72, Dustin Johnson (USA) 73-73, Scottie Scheffler (USA) 71-75
147 – Rich Beem (USA) 73-74, Jason Dufner (USA) 72-75, Matthew Borchert (USA) 73-74, Dean Burmester (RSA) 69-78, Sergio Garcia (ESP) 73-74, Adam Scott (AUS) 77-70, Sadom Kaewkanjana (THA) 75-72
148 – John Daly (USA) 72-76, Yuki Inamori (JPN) 72-76, Kim Bi-O (KOR) 76-72, Hudson Swafford (USA) 74-74, Scott Stallings (USA) 78-70
149 – Ryan Brehm (USA) 76-73, Joel Dahmen (USA) 73-76, Sam Horsfield (ENG) 74-75, Mackenzie Hughes (CAN) 77-72, Corey Conners (CAN) 76-73, Danie van Tonder (RSA) 74-75
150 – Garrick Higgo (RSA) 74-76, Matt Jones (AUS) 73-77, Richard Bland (ENG) 74-76, Jesse Mueller (USA) 72-78, Cameron Champ (USA) 74-76, Tyler Collet (USA) 79-71, Oliver Bekker (RSA) 78-72
151 – Zach Johnson (USA) 74-77, Patrick Cantlay (USA) 76-75, Chad Ramey (USA) 77-74, Alex Beach (USA) 73-78, Michael Block (USA) 78-73, Alex Cejka (GER) 72-79, Erik van Rooyen (RSA) 75-76, Ryosuke Kinoshita (JPN) 79-72, Ryan Vermeer (USA) 75-76
152 – Padraig Harrington (IRL) 77-75, Kyle Mendoza (USA) 75-77, Jhonattan Vegas (VEN) 73-79
153 – Nic Ishee (USA) 78-75, Daniel Berger (USA) 73-80, Matthew Wolff (USA) 76-77, Brandon Bingaman (USA) 78-75, Shaun Micheel (USA) 76-77, Martin Kaymer (GER) 76-77, Nicolai Hœjgaard (DEN) 78-75, Takumi Kanaya (JPN) 77-76, Dylan Newman (USA) 78-75
154 – Kim Joo-hyung (KOR) 78-76, Carlos Ortiz (MEX) 79-75, Pablo Larrazábal (ESP) 77-77, Wyatt Worthington II (USA) 77-77
155 – Paul Dickinson (USA) 78-77, Colin Inglis (USA) 78-77
157 – Shawn Warren (USA) 78-79, Jared Jones (USA) 79-78, Casey Pyne (USA) 79-78
158 – Tim Feenstra (USA) 77-81
159 – Austin Hurt (USA) 78-81
161 – Sean McCarty (USA) 82-79
163 – Zac Oakley (USA) 81-82
By Garrin Lambley © Agence France-Presse