PGA Championship 2020: Haotong Li Shoots 65, Leads by 2 Strokes After Round 2

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorAugust 8, 2020

Li Haotong of China, hits from the fairway on the 10th hole during the second round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at TPC Harding Park Friday, Aug. 7, 2020, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

Haotong Li's five-under 65 propelled him to first at eight under overall after two rounds at the 2020 PGA Championship in San Francisco's Harding Park.


🔹Turned pro in 2011 at age 16. 🔹Won the @PGATOURChina Order of Merit in 2014. 🔹Finished No. 61 on @KornFerryTour money list in 2015. 🔹Best finish on TOUR is 3rd (The Open - 2017). 🔹Won twice on the European Tour. @haotong_li leads the @PGAChampionship by three. https://t.co/bkUjOUHrYt

Li went bogey-free Friday after registering only one the day before.

A crowded leaderboard is hot on Li's heels.

Six players are tied for second, including three major winners and perennial major contender Tommy Fleetwood, who shot a six-under 64 on Friday. Defending back-to-back PGA Championship winner Brooks Koepka is also in that group.

A total of 79 golfers will be moving on to the back half of the tournament after shooting one over or better. Notables who did not make the weekend include Rickie Fowler (two over), Matt Kuchar (three over) and Sergio Garcia (six over).

Here's a look at the top 20, as well as some of the notable storylines through two days.


Top 20 and Ties

1. Haotong Li: -8

2. Mike Lorenzo-Vera: -6

2. Jason Day: -6

2. Daniel Berger: -6

2. Tommy Fleetwood: -6

2. Brooks Koepka: -6

2. Justin Rose: -6

8. Paul Casey: -5

8. Brendon Todd: -5

8. Cameron Champ: -5

11. Lanto Griffin: -4

11. Xander Schauffele: -4

11. Dustin Johnson: -4

11. Alex Noren: -4

11. Bernd Wiesberger: -4

16. Matthew Wolff: -3

16. Scottie Scheffler: -3

16. Dylan Frittelli: -3

16. Bud Cauley: -3

16. Tony Finau: -3

16. Si Woo Kim: -3

16. Hideki Matsuyama: -3

16. Joel Dahmen: -3

16. Brendan Steele: -3

Full leaderboard can be found at PGA.com.


Li's Hot Putter Helps Propel Him to Lead

Li started his day off right with three birdies in his first five holes, including this 16'2" putt on No. 5:


Three birdies in five holes. 🐦🐦🐦 @Haotong_Li takes the lead at the #PGAChamp. https://t.co/WQfRjAKxh2


Back-to-back birdies on the ninth and 10th put Li at five under for the round entering the final eight holes. The rest of his scorecard proved clean en route to taking the tournament lead heading into moving day.

Li hit 77.8 percent of his greens in regulation and gained 2.85 strokes putting in the second round. He made birdie putts from 12'4", 22'6" and 16'2", while the other two birdie putts were tap-ins.

"I didn't even think I could play [like] this this week," Li said per ESPN's Bob Harig following his round. "... [I've] got no confidence. Probably it helped me clear my mind a little bit this week.''

The humble Li added: "Well, I've got no expectations actually, because you know, last few months, stay at home doing nothing. I just want to be out here and have fun."

Li is clearly serious about taking this one home, though, as he got some practice in after his round:


Haotong Li is still out there! https://t.co/YdCftkwiEu

So far so good for the 25-year-old, who is looking for his first major win.


Fleetwood Puts Himself in Position for 1st Major Win

The top rounds of the day went to Fleetwood and Cameron Champ, who began Friday flirting with the cut line and ended with them challenging for Li's lead.

Fleetwood, who has an excellent major track record but has yet to win one, made four birdies in his first nine holes, including a 33-footer on No. 9:


Climbing the leaderboard. @TommyFleetwood1 is making it look easy. https://t.co/aU4HGzJJCU

He started his back nine with another birdie for five in 10 holes before notching two more birdies and a bogey for his six-under. That number could have been seven under, but an eagle-chip try on the par-five fourth landed just eight inches from the hole.

The 29-year-old is no stranger to success at majors, as his recent record shows:


68 67 66 74 70 64 @TommyFleetwood1's last six rounds in the majors. https://t.co/RCFkASwlEB

He's made 12 straight major cuts and has registered a pair of second-placed finishes and one fourth-placed result.

The breakthrough looks like it could be coming, though, as Fleetwood looked unstoppable Friday. If he plays anywhere close to that level Saturday and Sunday, then he might be the man to beat. 


Woods Survives Tough Friday Round, Makes Cut

Tiger Woods entered Friday at two under, but he had to fight to make the one-over cut on a day when he finished two over, leaving him even par heading into moving day.

The flat stick did Woods no favors Friday, as he lost 1.67 strokes putting on the day, per PGATour.com. He also hit just 61.1 percent of greens in regulation.

However, Woods came through when he needed to the most. He entered the final three holes at one over, leaving himself no wiggle room from No. 16 through No. 18. Instead, Woods gained a stroke back on the short par-four 16th, hitting a clutch 12-foot putt for birdie. He finished with two comfortable pars to make the weekend.

Woods may not have had a banner day, and a 16th major title seems unlikely. However, he managed to make his 73rd major cut at the PGA Championship, which he has won four times.