KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – Steve Stricker lived to fight another day – make that two more days – in the 103rd PGA Championship.
In danger of missing the 36-hole cut after a first-round 76, Stricker bounced back with a 1-under 71 on Friday. As scores ballooned in the afternoon wind on the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, he continued to move up the leaderboard long after he left the course.
At the end of the day, the U.S. Ryder Cup captain had climbed all the way into a tie for 39th place at 3-over 147 and will get to play on the weekend of a major championship for the first time since the 2018 U.S. Open.
Starting on the back nine, Stricker, 54, of Madison, Wis., made the turn in 1-under, thanks to a tap-in birdie on the par-5 11th hole and eight pars. He was one of few players to get through the difficult, into-the-wind stretch of Nos. 14-18 without a bogey.
Then lightning struck – the good kind – in the form of an eagle on the par-5 second hole. He holed his third shot from 55 yards to get to 3-under for the round. Perhaps the Ocean Course owed him one after the triple-bogey he made on No. 13 in the opening round.
Stricker, though, couldn’t sustain the momentum. He missed the green on Nos. 3 and 4 and had to settle for bogeys each time, missing par putts of 8 and 6 feet, respectively.
He then finished off his round with five consecutive pars.
His 71 was one of just 21 subpar rounds among the 154 golfers who completed two rounds and was more than four strokes better than the second-round scoring average of 75.519.
Among those who missed the cut were Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele, Sergio Garcia, Tommy Fleetwood, Adam Scott and Matt Kuchar.