Xander Eyes Major Breakthrough with 36 holes to go at 2024 PGA
18 May,2024 Credit : Scott Taetsch / PGA of America

By Tim Liotta


Xander Eyes Major Breakthrough with 36 holes to go at 2024 PGA

Things You May Have Missed From Round Two of the 106th PGA Championship: 

While Xander Schauffele leads Collin Morikawa by a shot, Sahith Theegala by two, 22 players are within 6 shots of the lead, 28 within seven, 36 within eight.

Xander Schauffele, who followed up an record-setting, opening-round 62 with a  gets that he has failed to hold up on the last few Sundays when contending in a big tournament: "when you haven't won a golf tournament in a few years, you have to be pretty resilient," he said. "I'm just patient and trying to play the best golf I can and stay out of my own way. I know I'm playing really good golf right now, and all can I could do is focus on my process and my talk with Austin, and that's about it.

Xander Schauffele's Major Championship Record

Collin Morikawa ranked 13th in the field after two rounds in strokes-gained: putting. "Look, I've been putting great so far since Augusta, so it's nice to just kind of keep that trend going, and was able to hit a few good close shots, few wedge shots, take advantage of the short holes, the par-5s and for the most part didn't really make any big errors, other than the last hole, just that approach shot," he said after shooting a second-round, 6-under-par 65.

Colliln Morikawa's Major Championship Record

From a competitive perspective, Scottie Scheffler birdied the first hole he played after getting to the golf course after being arrested, handcuffed, taken to jail. He went on to shoot a second-round, 5-under-par 66: "It probably took a few holes to feel normal," he said after expressing his condolences to the family of the volunteer who was killed. "Obviously I didn't have my normal warmup and I usually stick to my routine. I'm a big routine guy, especially when it comes to my preparation. But it took a few holes to settle in.

"It was kind of nice just to be out there inside the ropes competing. It's one of my favorite things in the world to do, so I was fortunate to be able to come out here and do it again today."

Scheffler was grateful for the response of the crowds: "It was really nice. The fans were tremendous today. I felt like they were cheering extra loud for me today. I really do -- I know sometimes you can't really see it on my face, but I really do enjoy playing in front of the fans. The support I've been getting the last few months out here has been tremendous, and I'm really grateful for it."

Scheffler is three shots off the lead while being ranked 58th in strokes-gained: putting after two rounds. 

Two of the 20 PGA Professionals who qualified for the 106th PGA via the PGA Professional Championship made the 36-hole cut. Jeremy Wells finished two rounds T51 at 2-under with rounds of 69-71. Braden Shattuck was T68 at 1-under with rounds of 71-70. 

Michael Block, who finished T15 with a final-round, hole-in-one on live television a year ago as a PGA professional, opened the 2024 PGA with a bogey and a quadruple bogey and missed the cut by 8 shots. He played the final 34 holes in a respectable 2-over-par). 

The 7,609-yard Valhalla Golf Course played much the same in Round Two as it did in Round One: 

Round Two: 14 eagles, including a hole-in-one by Sebastian Soderberg, 550 birdies made by 154 competitors (John Daly, Ben Griffin withdrew after the first round, K.H. Lee withdrew after 16 holes of the second round). 

Round One: 7 eagles, 542 birdies.

Hardest Holes: 

Round Two: 14th hole (7 birdies), 6th hole (11 birdies), 17th hole (15 birdies). 

Round One: 16th hole (10 birdies), 14th hole (11 birdies), 6th hole (11 birdies).

Easiest Hole: 

Round Two: 18th hole (81 birdies, 11 eagles).

Round One: 18th hole (79 birdies, 2 eagles). 


Not surprising. Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green after two rounds: Xander Schauffele (1st), Scottie Scheffler (2nd), Collin Morikawa (fourth). 

Surprising: Joaquin Neimann made the cut on the number despite ranking 152nd out of 153 players who completed two rounds in strokes-gained: putting. The only player he ranked higher than was Rich Beem, who finished last among those 153 players at 20-over-par. 

Everything above was written understanding that a fatal tragedy occurred prior to the second round of the 106th PGA Championship, and that nothing remotely compares to the feelings of loss felt by the family of John Mills, the volunteer who died in the accident.