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Sunday, January 29, 2023

PGA Championship: Justin Thomas moves into clubhouse lead with stellar second round in tough conditions

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J

ustin Thomas defied being on seemingly the wrong side of the draw as he moved into the clubhouse lead on day two of the PGA Championship at Southern Hill.

The 2017 champion carded a second-consecutive 67 in windy conditions, dropping just one shot across his 18 holes in round two to move to six-under-par and a shot ahead of Rory McIlroy, before the Irishman got his round underway.

The forecast of winds gusting up to 40mph had prompted tournament officials to opt not to cut the greens before play got under way on Friday in a bid to prevent balls moving on the undulating surfaces.

Thomas immediately found the speed of the greens to his liking as he birdied the 10th, his opening hole, and also picked up another shot on the 13th to join McIlroy at the top of the leaderboard for the first time.

That was short-lived as Thomas promptly bogeyed the 14th, but that would prove to be the only blemish on the former world number one’s scorecard as he followed a run of eight pars with a birdie on the fifth and then completed a superb day’s work with a birdie on the ninth.

“(I’m) very pleased,” Thomas said. “Although I played solid yesterday, I played really, really well today.

“The conditions were obviously very difficult. I stayed very patient, tried to get in my own little world and get in a zone and just tried to execute each shot the best I could. I felt we did a great job of that and am glad to have a good round to show for it.

“We’re halfway through so it’s still a long way from home, but I’m very, very pleased with where everything is at and the frame of mind and state of mind that I’m in.

“I just need to try to maintain that the best that I can and keep trying to play good golf.”

Additional reporting by PA Sport.

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