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Whistling Straits in a giving mood as Jason Day, Matt Jones lead PGA

Whistling Straits in a giving mood as Jason Day, Matt Jones lead PGA
Jason Dayand his caddie walks off the 15th tee under ominous skies during the second round of the PGA Championship on Friday at Whistling Straits. (Tom Pennington / Getty Images)

Here's how easy Whistling Straits played Friday before a ferocious storm ended play at 5:28 p.m. local time:

Nick Watney and Henrik Stenson knocked 10 shots off their Thursday scores. Marc Leishman shaved 11 from his opening 79. European Tour player Richie Ramsay followed an 81 with a 67. Club pro Daniel Venezio went from rank (89) to respectable (76).

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Tiger Woods even made two straight birdies.

Koumei Oda improved 12 shots by shooting a 67, and he wasn't even most improved among Japanese players.

Hiroshi Iwata, ranked 102nd in the world, tied the major championship record by carding a nine-under 63. One day earlier, he shot a 77 and said he had only one birdie try.

"On the back nine, after No. 13," Iwata said through an interpreter, "I was thinking I was going to shoot 27."

Poor guy settled for a 29.

The red figures kept coming until the red blobs showed up on the radar. With play set to resume at 7 a.m. Saturday, Australians Jason Day and Matt Jones are atop the PGA Championship leaderboard at nine under. The horn sounded right after Day struck a shot on the 15th hole. Jones completed 12 holes.

Justin Rose is one back and has to wake up early to play a single hole. He joked about having jinxed his group.

"I opened my big mouth," Rose said. "I said, 'The end is in sight,' and 30 seconds later they blew the horn. So my name is mud all over here."

Less than 30 minutes after the horn sounded, PGA of America officials put the kibosh on resuming Friday play.

"It's a bit of a drag," Rose said, "because we'll come out at 5 a.m., play one hole and … probably play (again) around 2 o'clock. ... That's going to be interesting to deal with that. But I'm in good position."

So are David Lingmerth, Harris English and the surging Tony Finau (six under through 13 holes Friday) at seven under, two back. Jordan Spieth is among five at six under after a second-round 67.

It figured that first-round leader Dustin Johnson would have welcomed the storm, given that he bogeyed his final two holes — Nos. 13 and 14 — to slip to five under. But Johnson said he was bummed, given his 356-yard drive into the 15th fairway.

"It would have been nice to finish," he said. "I finally felt like I was swinging it pretty good."

Woods needs a monster finish to make the cut, projected at two over. He's four over with five holes to play and showed no positive signs after birdies on his second and third holes.

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A light breeze, coupled with receptive greens, turned this Pete Dye masterpiece into a pussycat for much of the day.

"The greens are at a firmness," Lingmerth said, "where you can throw some darts in there."

Among those making a surge was South African George Coetzee, who shot a 65 after an opening 74. Asked to compare the conditions from Thursday afternoon to Friday morning, he quipped: "Nine shots easier."

So it was a day to go low. Or, in the case of John Daly, to go bonkers.

He rinsed three consecutive balls on the 221-yard seventh hole and then hurled his club into the offending body of water, Lake Michigan. A boat pulled up and a boy retrieved the sunken treasure, holding it over his head in celebration.

Daly took a 10 and will miss his 16th cut (including two withdrawals) since winning the 1991 PGA Championship.

Daly stunned the golf world that year by shrinking Crooked Stick to a pitch-and-putt course. Iwata's second-round 63 was less dramatic, but it counts as the competitive course record. The 34-year-old from Miyagi, Japan, became the 25th player to record a 63 in a major, last accomplished by Jason Dufner at the 2013 PGA at Oak Hill.

Iwata's secret weapon was no secret at all. He needed only 22 putts, sinking a two-footer on No. 18 to end his historic round.

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