Sunday, 13 Aug, 2.58 am

Matsuyama rallies to share lead

Hideki Matsuyama birdied five of the last seven holes to seize a share of the lead with Kevin Kisner in Friday's storm-hit second round of the 99th PGA Championship.

World number three Matsuyama, coming off a World Golf Championships victory last week at Akron, fired a bogey-free seven-under par 64 to match Kisner at eight-under 134 for 36 holes at Quail Hollow in the year's final Major tournament.

"I don't know if the other players should be nervous or not, but this is my first experience leading a Major, or tied for the lead, after 36 holes," Matsuyama said. "So being a new experience, maybe I'll be a little nervous.

"But on the other hand, I'm looking forward to the weekend and seeing how I do."

A thunderstorm that halted play for nearly an hour and 45 minutes came after Matsuyama had made three consecutive birdies starting at the 12th hole, but he took advantage of wet conditions when play resumed and added birdies at the par-5 15th and par-3 17th.

Matsuyama, whose six top-10 finishes in 20 prior Major starts include a runner-up effort at this year's US Open, could become the first Japanese man to win a major title and only the second Asian man to claim a major crown after South Korea's Yang Yong-Eun at the 2009 PGA.

Matsuyama, who made three birdies in a row before the delay, stretched the streak to four with a tap-in birdie at 15, then sank a seven-foot birdie putt at the par-3 17th.

Australia's Jason Day, the 2015 PGA winner and last year's runner-up, fired a 66 to stand third on 136.

Chris Stroud, the last man to qualify for the PGA Championship, completed a three-under-par 68 on Saturday morning to join 2015 winner Day setting off for the third round.

Stroud had five holes to finish after play was suspended on Friday.

Sharing fourth at five-under 137 in the clubhouse were Italy's Francesco Molinari, with a bogey-free 64, and South African Louis Oosthuizen, who shot a bogey-free 67.

ong after 25th-ranked Kisner reached the clubhouse with his second consecutive 67, players once fearful of lightning-fast greens attacked the dampened putting surfaces after the delay and soared up the leaderboard.

"When we got delayed, the whole course changed with regards to how receptive it was," Day said.

Day, also on a run of three consecutive birdies after a tap-in eagle at seven when the delay came, found trees off the tee and a bogey at 11 when play resumed, but bounced back with a 46-foot birdie putt at 13 and a 12-footer at 14.

Day ran between shots from the 17th green to the 18th green in the gathering gloom, trying to keep as much twilight as possible as he closed with four pars. Kisner, seeking his first major title, sank a 48-foot eagle putt at the seventh to highlight his second round.

Leading scores (after 36 holes): 134: Kevin Kisner (USA) (67, 67), Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn) (70, 64); 136: Jason Day (Aus) (70, 66), Chris Stroud (USA) (68, 68); 137: Francesco Molinari (Ita) (73, 64), Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) (70, 67); 139: Rickie Fowler (USA) (69, 70), Justin Thomas (USA) (73, 66), Paul Casey (Eng) (69, 70); 140: An Byeong-Hun (Kor) (71, 69).