Matt Jones has continued where he left off in the rain-delayed second round of the US PGA Championship, surging to the halfway lead while Jason Day sits second at Whistling Straits.
Jones returned with six holes to complete early on Saturday and duly birdied two of them to shoot a seven-under-65 and rocket out to 11-under-133 for the tournament, taking a two-shot lead off countryman Day.
The world No.5 had it to 10 under through 17 in his return only to bogey the final hole for a 67 to finish nine under and set up an all Aussie final group for round three.
England’s Justin Rose (67) is third at eight under while Swede David Lingmerth (70), American Tony Finau (66) and India’s Anirban Lahiri (67) share fourth at seven under.
Jones has never led in a major. Day has many times but not closed the deal.
They have given Australia hope of claiming a first major since the 2013 Masters and a first PGA Championship since Steve Elkington won in 1995.
“I’ve put myself in the position, so the only thing I have to change is the end result,” Day said.
“The experiences that I’ve had in the past in previous finishes, I think it’s just really kind of setting me up for something big.
“This is my first season that I’ve had two wins in one season and I’m looking to change that to a three-win season right now. But I’ve just got to be patient with myself and not get too far ahead of myself.”
For Jones, who’s best major result was a tie for 30th at last month’s British Open, the experience is new but enjoyable.
“It’s amazing to be in the lead at a major. I’ve been in the lead on a tour event but a major’s a different story,” Jones said.
“But I’m going to have fun with it and I’m pretty relaxed on the golf course. I’m sure I’ll be nervous on the first tee but playing with Jason will be great.”
Jordan Spieth made a move towards his third major championship of the year as the world No.2 shot 67 on Friday, to jump to six under.
Having already won the Masters and US Open this season, Spieth is gunning to become just the third player in history to win three of the four majors in one year, behind Ben Hogan and Tiger Woods.
Adam Scott missed his first major cut since the 2011 US Open after a 75 left him at seven over for the week.
Cameron Smith made a nice charge with a 68 to get to two under in just his second major where he is joined by world No.1 Rory McIlroy (71).
John Senden, Marc Leishman, Geoff Ogilvy and club pro Brett Jones, Matt’s brother, all missed the cut.
Former world No.1 Woods was another to miss the final two rounds, making it three majors in a row missing the cut.